[Oct 6, 2022: Atlanta, GA] Retired Major Gamaliel Turner currently works as America’s expert on warfare of the future. He’s also a Georgia voter who almost lost his vote. But he fought to get it back — and you should too.
Gamaliel Turner: We are at war each and every day. Not just in other countries, not just within our nation, but internally and socially with our right to vote.
The Constitution gives us the opportunity to have the right to vote. Others are taking that right of ours and stealing it. I know stealing is a major word to use. It’s not one that I like to use. But what do you call it when someone, in the heat of the night, goes in and arbitrarily takes something from you?
In my particular situation, my opportunity to vote freely, in a clean straight line, was taken from me. How was that done? Simply, I was challenged. Not notified that I was challenged, not given an early warning that I was challenged. It was simple, my absentee ballot was missing. A simple act of not receiving your absentee ballot when you’ve applied for one.
If you don’t follow up…all the way to the register’s office, ask where is my ballot, I’m here to tell you, it might not be an accident that you didn’t receive it. It might have been done on purpose. In my case, not only did I did not get my ballot, but I’d also been challenged. And I’d been challenged because [under Georgia’s Senate Bill 202] one citizen can challenge another citizen’s right to vote or the legitimacy of his residency in that state.
In this particular case, it was because I was stationed in California, serving my country. I was still a legal resident of Georgia. I had a Georgia driver’s license, was paying property tax and the whole nine yards. I had voted in every election in Georgia up until then and never voted in California. I was challenged simply because someone said, I challenge this individual because he’s not physically here…because he had my change of address at the Post Office.
My vote was almost taken from me, and it was by the grace of God that it was recognized in time. The ugliness of it is, it wasn’t just my individual vote. I was not targeted as an individual. There was a collective number of us that were targeted in Muscogee County. Some 3,000 individuals were targeted.
None of us were notified in advance… all within a 10 day period of our ability to vote. I’m not sure of the circumstances surrounding everyone that was actually targeted. In my case, I was physically over 2,600 miles away from Georgia. Others might have been sick and shut in, I’m not sure if any military was on there. But the bottom line is, 3,000 in a small town like Columbus, Georgia, in a small county like Muscogee County, is significant enough to sway the vote in one direction or the other. The mere fact that there was no announcement, no notification, that in itself showed that it was decisive, purposely done with a desired end result… But the court system upheld our right to vote and those that were knowledgeable of it were able to vote.
So, when you’re told to check your vote, and they’re giving us the opportunity to do that now, track your ballots all the way through to your mailbox. Track your ballots all the way back through to the register’s office — that’s available to you now. I encourage each and every one of you to do that. Don’t take your vote lightly. It’s one of the most valuable things that you have. It controls all the power in the state. It is your power to make a difference. I encourage each and every one of you to protect your vote and use it at every opportunity. Thank you.
Gamaliel Turner’s story is highlighted in our new film, Vigilante: Georgia’s Voter Suppression Hitman, which exposes the most brazen, racist attack on voting rights yet.
Greg Palast (Rolling Stone, Guardian, BBC) is the author of The New York Times bestsellers, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits and the book and documentary,
The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
His latest film is Vigilante: Georgia's Vote Suppression Hitman
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