Racist Georgia election officials shutter black polling places

This November, Stacy Abrams, a black woman, will be the Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia.

Apparently the folks who run elections in Randolph County, which is over 60% black, don’t want their citizens to be able to vote for her.

They’re planning to shut down 7 of the county’s 9 polling places. The 2 polling stations that will remain open aren’t served by public transit. That means some black votes will have to walk for 3 hours to vote.

“Bobby Jenkins, the county’s Democratic party chairman, … said the proposal first appeared in the legal section of a local newspaper last Wednesday. ‘That’s the first I knew about it,’ he said. … Jenkins said that there had been ‘no indication’ that this proposal was coming …. ‘No articles appeared in the paper prior to the legal notice that appeared in the legal section,’ he said. ‘And, of course, we feel that that was deliberate … it’s voter suppression,'” the Albany Herald reported.

According to Huffington Post, “Georgia was one of nine states that had to seek approval from the federal government before making changes to its election practices under the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court nullified that requirement, ruling the formula used to determine which states had to get approval was unconstitutional. Chief Justice John Roberts, who authored the majority opinion, pointed to progress in getting rid of racial discrimination to justify why the formula should be struck down. … Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, said the proposed changes in Randolph County showed the significance of the Supreme Court’s decision to get rid of the preclearance formula. ‘Had the Supreme Court not killed the Voting Rights Act, then the county would not have been able to make these changes without demonstrating … that the changes would not make minority voters worse off,” he wrote in an email.”

The ACLU has warned the county it intends to sue.

Read story here, here, and here.

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