Georgia Project Organization Raises Alarms About Persistent Voter Suppression Amid Plans To Close Minority Polling Place

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[Voter Suppression News]
New Georgia Project organizers
Photo: Facebook screenshot

Civic engagement leaders across Georgia raise concern over the possible closing of a majority minority polling place in Jeff Davis County, GA. Atlanta.

The New Georgia Project together with allies, issued the following statements in response to the Jeff Davis County Board of Elections’ possible closure of a majority minority polling place in their already consolidated voting precincts.

New Georgia Project’s purpose is to grow political engagement in historically underrepresented communities.

Nsé Ufot, Executive Director of the New Georgia Project Action Fund stated that Wednesday's "decision in Jeff Davis County puts our democracy on the chopping block for Black Georgians. There’s no way to sugar coat it: closing a majority minority polling place in a county where they have already consolidated voting precincts and caused massive confusion among voters before a very big election is a troubling and transparent attack on Black voters and our fundamental freedom to vote. Jeff Davis County owes their voting population more access to the polls -- not less. And we know this is not an isolated incident. The writing is on the wall.

Prior to the precinct consolidation in 2017, the voting numbers in this county hovered in the 40/60 range, Democrat vs. Republican. Conveniently, by the 2018 gubernatorial elections, Brian Kemp was able to win over this county with an unprecedented 82 percent of the vote. The closure of this polling place feels like one more piece of the voter suppression pie.”

DeMarcus Beckham, Macon Office Director, New Georgia Project said: “We have been hearing testimony again and again from folks who have already experienced the unique pain of being turned away from a polling place due to insufficient information and mismanaged location closings. We refuse to believe that this kind of chaos is the new normal in Georgia’s elections. Our folks deserve better and our democracy only works when everyone can participate fully.”

Amanda Hollowell, State Director, 9to5 Georgia said: “The consolidation of the precincts in Jeff Davis County is a form of voter suppression in a majority-minority community. 9to5 does not support tactics like this and will continue to fight to give everyone access to vote.”

Wanda Moseley, GA State Coordinator, Black Voters Matter said: “The closing of precincts in Jeff Davis County is part of a disturbing systematic effort to deny Black voters their right to vote in Georgia. Voting is our most sacred right as Americans and all Georgians should be outraged that our right to vote is under constant attack in our state. Closing polling precincts forces voters to travel a greater distance to exercise this fundamental right, placing an unfair burden on citizens. We are seeing this effort replicated in many counties where there are majority Black and Brown voters. These initiatives are unacceptable and we will continue to fight to eliminate the voter suppression efforts that some are using to take away our basic democratic rights that should not only be protected, but promoted."

Dwayne Johnson, City Councilmember, Hazlehurst, GA said: “I want more people to vote. Having that precinct back in Ward 1 would help voters in my district who now find it difficult to get to the polling place. When they were once able to walk, now they need a ride. Why should we be making voting more difficult?

Blake Robinson, Canvasser, New Georgia Project Macon-area Office said: “I’ve been all over the state helping people to register to vote and educating them about the voting process in our state. Keeping the polling place open helps to keep people engaged with their government. Closing this polling place is simply not right.”

New Georgia Project Action Fund, Black Voters Matter Fund, and 9to5 Georgia stand ready to fight back against attacks like these whenever and wherever they crop up in Georgia. We brought over 30 concerned citizens to the County Commissioner’s office in Jeff Davis County on 24 hours’ notice and have hundreds more at the ready to make phone calls and send emails to hold public officials accountable and to secure justice for the communities we represent. 

The New Georgia Project works to ensure progressive policies and voting rights by registering and advocating for the rising American electorate/new American majority: African Americans, Latinx, Asian Americans, women, and young people through civic engagement.

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