In Washington, D.C., the tough budget decisions are pretty much on hold until after the election. Though, some state governments can’t afford to wait. In Georgia, that’s led to a fight over whether to keep the state’s archives open.
Earlier this year, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal had instructed every state office to trim its budget which left Secretary of State Secretary of State Brian Kemp without a lot of good options: The Secretary of State could cut elections, but the federal government would frown on that because of Georgia’s past sins at the voting booth; he could slash the office that handles professional licenses, but staffers already struggle to keep up with demand; or close the archives. So, close the archives it was.
That decision unleashed the wrath of hundreds of librarians, historians and genealogists. Protesters like Hilary Morrish showed up at the state capital. Morrish says, “I just feel like limiting that access is like limiting democracy.”
The outcry worked — late last week, the governor tucked $125,000 “extra” into the Secretary of State’s budget and Georgia’s archives will stay open at least through June.