ACLU of Georgia accuses county of making it harder for black people to vote
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia is accusing one of the state’s counties of trying to make it harder for African-Americans to vote.
The ACLU chapter made the allegation this week amid objections from multiple civil rights advocates to a proposal from the Randolph County elections board to shutter seven of its nine polling locations, according to The Associated Press. The southwest Georgia county represents a predominantly black area in the state.
“There is strong evidence that this was done with intent to make it harder for African Americans,” ACLU of Georgia attorney Sean Young told the AP.
The outlet reported that the Randolph County elections board is scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss the proposal that would close about 75 percent of polling locations in the county. One of the sites that could be shut down is a local middle school where almost 97 percent of voters are black, according to the AP. Randolph County is more than 61 percent black, according to the most recent census figures.
The ACLU of Georgia responded to the proposal by writing a letter demanding that the polling places remain open. The chapter also has filed open records requests to get information about the proposal, the AP reported.
The ACLU chapter argued that closing the polling locations will negatively affect residents who do not have reliable transportation. The group claims that people would have to travel an extra 10 miles to vote if certain polling locations were closed.
“If you don’t have a car and you want to vote in-person, you have to walk three-and-a-half hours,” Young said.
County election board members did not respond to the AP’s request for comment on the proposal. But, according to the report, members of the ACLU chapter plan to attend Thursday night’s election boards meeting.
County voters will vote on statewide offices and state legislative seats in November’s midterm elections. The AP notes that all nine polling sites were used in this year’s primary and Republican run-off. Andrea Young, ACLU of Georgia executive director, said it was unclear why the locations would be closed down.
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