Andrew Yang was one of the most interesting candidates in the Democratic primary. He talked about issues like the future job market, which most politicians don’t really understand deeply. He discussed technology issues and how they will impact the workplace. While I disagreed with Yang’s solutions, he was an interesting thinker.
Following the election, he actually criticized his own party. He thought their focus on policing cultural issues was detrimental to the brand. In an interview with Newsweek, he said:
“And there’s something deeply wrong when working-class Americans have that response to a major party that theoretically is supposed to be fighting for them,” Yang said. “So you have to ask yourself what has the Democratic Party been standing for in their minds and in their minds the Democratic Party unfortunately has taken on this role of the coastal urban elites who are more concerned about policing various cultural issues than improving their way of life that has been declining for years.”
He is correct. That is why the working class gravitated toward the Republican Party beginning in 2016. Given these comments and the campaign he ran, I viewed Yang as an honest broker. I met some of his young, enthusiastic supporters at Politicon in Nashville last year. They, too, were interesting. More interesting was the fact that they told me that if Yang did not get the nomination, they would vote for President Trump as they did in 2016. Ironic.
But now, I think Andrew Yang is implying something he may not be intending to. This tweet thread has other Twitter users urging activists to move to Georgia temporarily to vote in the Senate runoffs:
There isn’t much time. The earliest date for absentee ballots to be mailed for the runoff is Nov. 18. The registration deadline is Dec. 7. The In-person early voting begins Dec. 14.
— Andrew Yang🧢🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) November 6, 2020
It is not clear if Yang is encouraging others to relocate to vote, intends to register to vote himself when he relocates his family here, or if he intends to stay here permanently. However, the idea of people temporarily moving to Georgia and voting is gaining steam. New York Times columnist Thomas Freidman was explicit in an interview with Chris Cuomo:
He’s [Mitch McConnell] already telling us he’s going to try to do to Biden what he did to Obama. And what that means is, I hope everybody moves to Georgia, you know, in the next month or two, registers to vote, and votes for these two Democratic senators, running against incidentally two Georgia senators, both of whom were investigated for what? For getting a briefing on the Coronavirus and then selling stocks before the public was aware of that information, both of them were investigated for that.”
These ideas are infuriating. Not because without it, the election is in the bag for the GOP. Nothing could be further from the truth. Anyone who is sanguine about these races keeping the GOP majority is deluding themselves. Both will be hard-fought elections. And this is a battle Georgians, with a vested interest in the future of the state, should be fighting. Not a bunch of carpetbaggers, coming here to campaign, register voters, or attempt to vote, and then leave again once the polling places close.
The good news is that anyone planning to try and move to Georgia temporarily to vote is grossly uninformed. Some outlets are noting that attempts to be here short-term, vote, and leave could be a felony. It would also be darn near impossible to do at this point. Georgia uses Voter ID in elections.
This means you need a valid ID to vote. We also don’t do vote by mail. If you want to vote outside the polls, you must request an absentee ballot that is matched against voter rolls. You can register to vote in several ways, but all require a valid ID. To obtain a driver’s license or state ID card, there are requirements. You need proof of U.S. citizenship and a Social Security card. Additionally, you must provide two proofs of residence.
This proof would include a signed purchase agreement on a property, a signed lease, and a utility bill in the individual’s name to establish residency. While Georgia does not have a residency requirement to vote, we have checks in place to get the ID required to vote. So, slumming it on an activist’s couch is not going to cut it. Staying in a hotel or Airbnb is not going to work.
To vote in the runoff election, you must obtain all of this documentation, surrender your current state ID, and obtain a new one, and register by December 7, 2020. At this point, there is not even a utility billing cycle left. Georgia’s voter ID requirement will stop any such influx of activists. This is also a clear case for supporting voter ID.
Go pound sand, Andrew Yang. If you decide to campaign in the state, I promise you will have a crowd of MAGA supporters to jeer you. And ask Jon Ossoff and Stacey Abrams how all that Hollywood money and the star endorsements worked out for them in previous elections. Ossoff lost to the least inspiring GOP challenger ever. And despite the media buzz, Abrams legitimately lost her race for governor by over 50,000 votes.
Georgians don’t like outsiders telling us what to do, and we are not a state full of left-wing radicals. If the GOP can focus on a Democrat-majority Senate’s policy implications, such as the Equality Act, the PRO Act, COVID-19 lockdowns, and the Green New Deal, those blue suburbs will turn red again. The presidential election was about personality, not policy, as Gallup polling made clear. The Georgia GOP will make this clear as well.
Yang’s call for foot soldiers and Hollywood donors may not work out exactly as he thinks.