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Official targets secret ballots
Legislator wants to protect process
Duncan WEB

A freshman lawmaker from south Forsyth has introduced a measure that proposes amending the state constitution to protect the right to secret ballot.

“I didn’t just want to go down and play the part, I wanted to be part of the process,” said Geoff Duncan, a Republican who represents District 26.

“I wanted to come down to the Capitol and make a difference, and this definitely allows me to be able to participate in making a difference.”

House Resolution 108, the first measure Duncan has introduced, aims to guarantee a secret ballot wherever local, state or federal law requires an election. If approved by the legislature, state voters would then be asked to decide on the amendment.

“Big labor is demanding to change the way unions are organized; namely, to end an employee’s right to a secret ballot when deciding whether or not to join a union,” Duncan said. “Eliminating the secret-ballot requirement opens the process up to widespread intimidation.”

The measure is an initiative of the Save Our Secret Ballot organization, which wants to prevent voter intimidation, particularly in situations involving labor unions.

In a statement, the group’s chairman, Ken Blackwell, welcomed Duncan joining “our aggressive fight to protect the secret ballot in all elections.

“[His] efforts bring Georgia one step closer in protecting our most inalienable rights from the over-reaching hands of Washington,” Blackwell said.

As it stands, the amendment measure has passed in all five states in which it has appeared on the ballot. In two of those states, Arizona and South Dakota, lawsuits were unsuccessful in overturning the amendments.

The National Labor Relations Board, which brought forth the suit, argued the states’ secret ballot amendments conflicted with federal labor laws by restricting methods in which employees can choose a union.

“If unions get their way, a business could be unionized virtually overnight — no campaign, no election and certainly no secret ballot,” Duncan said.

“HR 108 gives voters not only an opportunity to protect one of their most fundamental rights, it safeguards them against future action.”

Duncan’s measure has been co-signed by Speaker Pro-Tem Jan Jones, R-Milton, and Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, among others.

Duncan said he met with Lindsey to talk about the legislation before the 2013 General Assembly convened.

“I made a promise to Forsyth County to come down to the Capitol and create jobs that don’t cost the taxpayers a dime and this legislation does exactly that,” he said.

“It allows us as a state to be able to tell businesses all over the country and the world that we not only want them to come to Georgia, but we want them to succeed in Georgia.”