As Mississippi finally removed a racist symbol from its flag, a Republican elections commissioner in the Magnolia State came under fire for expressing concern that a lot of Black people are registering to vote.
“I’m concerned about voter registration in Mississippi,” Jones County’s Gail Harrison Welch wrote on Facebook. “The blacks are having lots [of] events for voter registration. People in Mississippi have to get involved, too.”
Although her office is nonpartisan, Welch has contributed to Republican candidates and causes over the years.
The Hattiesburg American reports: Welch’s comment caused an uproar Sunday, as screen shots of the comment spread quickly on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Welch said she has received calls and messages from all over the country about the post. … But Welch, who has been the Beat 1 commissioner for 20 years, said although the comment may appear racist, her intent was far from it. “We’ve always in the past had whites really participating in registering to vote. So many people don’t seem to be concerned about (voting).” She said in an interview Monday that she thought she was sending a private message, but the comment was shared publicly on Facebook. “This was an error on my part,” she said. “I was just trying to strike a match under people and get them to vote — to get everybody to vote. This was not intended to be anything.”
Welch told WDAM-TV: “This was a big mistake. I realize I could have worded things a little better. This was based on my frustration over the past few years over low voter turnout. I’m just trying to get everybody involved in registering to vote. If everybody were as passionate as the black community about registering people, you know, that would be great.”
Watch WDAM’s report, via Crooks and Liars, below.