Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law warned a Georgia elections board that it’s ready for a legal battle in federal court to stop a proposal that would suppress Black voter turnout in a key governor’s race.
The civil rights group submitted a pre-suit demand letter Monday to the Randolph County Board of Elections, objecting to a plan that would close 75 percent of the polling places in the predominantly African-American county.
“We are prepared to use every tool in our arsenal to protect the rights of Black voters seeking meaningful access to the ballot box this election cycle,” Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee, told NewsOne.
Georgia’s Black voters have the opportunity to elect Stacey Abrams, who could become the nation’s first female African-American governor.
“There is no way to ignore the fact that this is a unique and historic election cycle now underway in Georgia. We are poised and ready to fight back against voter suppression whenever it rears its ugly ahead across the state,” Clarke added.
Randolph County, which is 60 percent Black, has a two-member election board that was expected to vote Friday on whether to shutter seven of the county’s nine voting sites, Reuters reported. Supporter of the plan claim the sites violate federal disabilities law because they’re not wheelchair accessible.
Opponents believe that reason is a pretext to veil underlying racism and to keep the governor’s office under Republican control. If the plan goes through, many of the rural county’s Black voters, who don’t have reliable transportation, would have to travel up to 10 miles to cast a ballot at alternative polling stations.
Clarke urged voters to contact her organization through its Election Protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE to report complaints of voting discrimination or to access information concerning election dates, times and assigned polling sites.