Success! Majority-Black Georgia County Will Keep Polling Stations Open

Earlier this month, officials in Georgia announced their decision to close seven of the nine polling locations in Randolph County, where over 60 percent of the population is black.

The decision was made when Michael Malone, a consultant hired by the county’s Board of Elections and Registration, recommended the closures as a way to save money in this sparsely populated county. He added that these polling places were not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Outraged by this obvious voter suppression, Kevin Mathews created a Care2 petition demanding that the county board reverse its decision. He wrote:

We cannot allow this voter suppression to happen. As the ACLU points out, this is a majority black district where a lot of the population lives below the poverty line and without a car or public transportation option. To take away almost all of the polling locations is to say that these people will most likely be unable to vote.

Within a few days, over 20,000 Care2 activists had signed up to support Mathews’ petition.

As Monica L. in California wrote, “Everyone eligible to vote should be able to vote. Stop making it difficult for citizens to vote.”

Success! 

On August 24, Randolph County officials rejected the proposed plan. In an additional gratifying move, they also fired Malone, the plan’s architect. The officials wrote in a statement:

In the United States, the right to vote is sacred. It is a right that many generations of brave men and women have fought and died for. The interest and concern shown has been overwhelming, and it is an encouraging reminder that protecting the right to vote remains a fundamental American principle.

Congratulations and thank you to all the Care2 members who signed Mathews’ petition. This success is a wonderful example of what we can do when we all work together. The Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and several other civil rights groups came together to fight this egregious plan, along with dedicated Care2 members.

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said it well:

This is a victory for African-American voters across Georgia who are too often subject to a relentless campaign of voter suppression. The defeat of this proposal also shows the power of resistance and the impact that we can have by leveraging our voices against injustice.

Could the original proposal have anything to do with the fact that a majority of voters in Randolph County supported Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012, and Hillary Clinton in 2016?

Voter turnout is likely to be high in November, with a tight governor’s race between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp, as well as in other legislative races that are up for grabs.

Critics had accused Kemp of supporting the proposal to close the polling places, but he vehemently denied the accusation.

Yet, as Care2’s Joel Boyce writes here, voter suppression is very much a favorite of many white politicians in the U.S. in 2018 — whether through gerrymandering, ID requirements, shortening the hours that polls are open or decreasing the number of polling places.

So this victory for voting rights is a major win. It’s great to know that activists in South Georgia and around the U.S. are ready to fight for the right to vote.

Take Action!

If you’re impressed by the success of Kevin Mathew’s petition, why not create your own petition about an issue that’s important to you? Get started by checking out these guidelines and soon you’ll find the vibrant Care2 community signing up to support you.

 

Photo Credit: Elliott Stallion/Unsplash

59 comments

silja salonen
silja s18 days ago

BRILLIANT!!!!

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Kathy G
Kathy G18 days ago

Thank you

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Kathy G
Kathy G18 days ago

Thank you

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Freya H
Freya H19 days ago

See what happens when enough people raise enough hell? Never, NEVER underestimate the power of Hoi Polloi!

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Kathy G
Kathy G19 days ago

Thank you

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Kathy G
Kathy G19 days ago

Thank you

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Greta L
Greta L20 days ago

Very good news. Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M20 days ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M20 days ago

Thanks.

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pam w
pam w20 days ago

GOOD NEWS!

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