AUGUSTA, GA (Anibal Ibarra) - On Monday, June 8, 2015 a Dedication Ceremony for the Linda W. Beazley Community Room was held in the space at the entrance located at the Municipal Building at 535 Telfair Street. The Beazley Community Room is used as the primary voting site during Advance Voting periods in Richmond County and is also widely used for training, public hearings and community meetings.
Speakers for the event included President of Young Harris College and former Secretary of State of Georgia Ms. Cathy Cox (Democrat), local attorney and first Chairperson of the Richmond County Board of Elections Mr. Pat Rice, Hardie Davis, Mayor of the City of Augusta, Lynn Bailey, Executive Director of the Richmond County Board of Elections, and Brian Kemp, Secretary of State (Republican).
Linda Beazley was the first Executive Director for the Richmond County Board of Elections and served from 1973 – 1993. From 1993 – 1996, she served as County Administrator for Richmond County. In 1996, she was appointed as the Elections Director for the State of Georgia a position that she held until her retirement from the State in 2005. After returning home to Augusta in 2005, she was immediately appointed as Chairperson of the Richmond County Board of Elections and served in that capacity until her resignation in 2011.
The Augusta-Richmond County Commission dedicated the Community Room in her honor in December 2014.
The event took place just days after Oregon became the first state in the nation to make automatic the voter registration of anyone turning 18 years old.
Georgia is being targeted by voter registration activists for several attempts to make difficult to register to vote, redistricting political maneuvers, and even to access to the ballots. Other political parties, such as the Green Party of Georgia, have to go to almost impossible procedures just to be on the ballots.
The Libertarian Party is on the ballots in Georgia but during his speech at the event, Brian Kemp, Secretary of State and the Chief of Elections, only mentioned the Democratic Party and the Republican Party as the vital components of the electoral process. Municipal elections are nonpartisan and the room where Kemp was lecturing about election fairness is the entrance to the Municipal building.
Independent voters has being increasing in numbers in Augusta and Georgia and likely will take their pressure to open the electoral process to a multi partisan elections.
When the top elections official is elected by the two-party system is very difficult to open the electoral process to other parties or share the power, according to political observers. It is like the Ethics Commission appointed by the Governor, something fundamentally must change before.