On Monday, July 1, the executive committee of the Democratic Party acted decisively in removing Steve Allen — the former chairman of the Bibb County Democratic Party— as the Democratic representative on the five-member Bibb County Elections Board.
Allen sided with local Republicans’ efforts to have the special election before November and rebuffed the November 5 date which had been voted upon by the Bibb County Commission.
The Bibb County Democratic Party had already gone on record as early as mid-February in opposition of having a July election– via a letter to the Justice Department – along with opposing non-partisan elections.
The Justice Department responded in late May with more questions for the local Republicans who push for the election changes —State Sen. Cecil Staton and State Rep. Allen Peake.
Eventually, the July 16 special election was cancelled upon further notice. However, on June 25, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights which opened the door for states such as Georgia to move forward with proposed election changes despite serious concerns of disenfranchisement.
Steve Allen’s affirmative vote could be characterized as being a forgone conclusion because Barbara Clowers, the ‘independent’ member of the Bibb Elections Board decided to vote in favor of having the special election before November and Rinda Wilson, the Republican chairperson, was absent.
Regardless of whether the conservatives had enough support to have an election earlier, Allen voted against his own party in which he was an executive member .
A few years ago, Allen stepped down as the chairman of the Bibb County Democratic Party and Daryl Morton had replaced him.
On October 11, 2011, Morton was voted out as the chairman of the Bibb Democratic Party by an 8-5 vote via the executive committee.
In late September 2011, a group of progressive Bibb County Democrats expressed their concerns and voiced complaints while listening to local citizens in regard to the direction of the party. Through this meeting, a petition was formed that detailed the lack of compliance to party by-laws and perceived lack of leadership exhibited by Morton as the party chairman.
Morton admitted that he and his wife, Amy, had given a small contribution as a pledge of support to the conservative organization, Move Macon Forward. Move Macon Forward was instrumental in providing logistical and monetary support of Robert Reichert’s mayoral candidacy.
Reichert did eventually become mayor for a second time in 2011 by just 600 votes and has been a supporter of the Republican’s consolidation plan (HR-1171) from the very beginning.
The majority of Reichert’s electoral support has consistently come from North Macon and its predominately Republican precincts.
These are the same conservative Republican North Macon precincts that were won in previous election cycles by Governor Nathan Deal, former Governor Sonny Perdue, Austin Scott and of course, Allen Peake.
Allen sacrificed principle with his affirmative vote and his response is rather disingenuous.
Allen told WMAZ-TV the following:
“I think they’re mostly mad because we’re having non-partisan elections and there’s nothing they could do about that,” said Allen. “So, they lashed out at who was close at hand, and that happened to be me.”
Allen said the local Democratic Party has lost several good people because of the power struggle in the party.
“I have seen a lot of people leave the party over the last couple of years,” Allen said. “I think there are a few people trying to control things now, and they’re not representing Democrats in Bibb County as a whole.”
Who are exactly these good people? Bubber Epps? Epps changed parties after running unopposed in 2010 and now is a Republican and is part of the Bibb County ‘local delegation’ in the Georgia General Assembly.
Or Miriam Paris? Paris received monetary contributions from Republican Allen Peake (C&P Restaurant Company)– a top donor– while running for office and supported the Republican’s HR-1171 consolidation bill in an effort to reduce the electoral impact of Democrats and specifically African-Americans in Macon-Bibb.
Steve Allen’s vote to deliberately undercut the efforts of his own party to side with Republican efforts to circumvent the Voting Rights Act is disappointing.
State Senator David Lucas was quoted in The Macon Telgraph:
“We know most Democrat voters come out in November. … my problem is you siding with Republicans on setting the September date,” state Sen. David Lucas, a member of the executive board, told Allen during Monday’s meeting before the group voted to remove Allen as their representative on the elections board.
As a registered voter, one has a right to change their mind in each election cycle and cast a ballot for candidates who are Republican, Democrat or Independent.
Steve Allen held the position as the Democratic representative on the Bibb Election Board and attempted to play both sides of the fence with apparent ulterior motives.
One of the criticisms of non-partisan elections is that Republicans are able to conceal more easily their points of views and would face an easier time getting into elected office
Steve Allen’s actions personify what the non-partisan movement is all about and what Republicans are attempting to do in this majority-Democratic, majority African-American county.
Mr. Allen was disingenuous until the very end.
“Nobody came to me with problems for September,” Allen told WMAZ. “I decided to vote for September. I thought it was the right thing to do. If anyone would have come to me, it might have influenced what I did.”
Steve Allen’s vote on Thursday, June 27, helped local Republicans achieve their goals.
However, on Monday, July 1, the Bibb County Democratic Party took the necessary steps in removing Allen in an effort to move forward– and send a message.