On the heels of a NC voter suppression law being struck down, a Georgia town gets caught using local police to intimidate black voters.
On July 29th, three judges on the Fourth Circuit court of Appeals issued an 83-page ruling saying that it is no accident that North Carolina’s voting law looks, sounds and acts like an effort to suppress the voices of black voters.
North Carolina’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory, had a tantrum and lashed out at the Fourth Circuit’s decision as “politically motivated” and said that he would appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
Election law experts doubt the justices will have any interest in hearing the case. After all, it’s pretty clear that the law McCrory was trying to pass is nothing less than racist. What McCrory and the Republicans did, in a nut shell, was to pass a voter ID law and then set out to decide which IDs were acceptable when complying with the new law. Photo IDs used more often by black voters, including public assistance IDs, were removed from the list of acceptable identification, while IDs issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles—which blacks are less likely to have—were retained.
Then, they took one step further by cutting the first week of early voting as a result of data showing that the first seven days were used by large numbers of black voters, then removing one Sunday on which churches would bus “souls-to-the-polls”. They Banned same-day registration, too, which had a large and negative effect on blacks, as did the prohibition on out-of-precinct voting: both changes made voting harder for people who had recently moved, and blacks are more likely to move more often than whites.
All of that is pretty blatantly racist, but a town in Georgia has them beat. The New York Times reported that the town of Sparta, Georgia is using its police department to challenge the rights of its black residents to vote.
More to the meat of the story, according to the NYT, the Hancock County Board of Elections and Registration has been “systematically questioning the registrations of more than 180” black residents in Sparta, Georgia “by dispatching deputies with summonses commanding them to appear in person to prove their residence or lose their voting rights.”
A lawsuit, filed against the Board, alleges that maneuver was to give white candidates in Sparta an edge, as a white mayor won in November by a small margin.
“A lot of those people that was challenged probably didn’t vote, even though they weren’t proven to be wrong,” Marion Warren, a Sparta elections official, told the NYT. “People just do not understand why a sheriff is coming to their house to bring them a subpoena, especially if they haven’t committed any crime.”
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