When NAACP Georgia State President and several members of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization scrambled to attend the Randolph County 2-person Randolph County Board of Elections hearing which arbitrarily proposed to close polling places in Georgia’s predominately Black communities, she was appalled.
“We know how various tactics for voter suppression have been embedded by opponents to real democracy, especially since the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, and I was surprised that folks had the audacity to try this in my state,” said NAACP Georgia State Conference President Phyllis Blake.
To work against this “sleight of hand” type of voter suppression, which along with voter purges have plagued Southern states like Georgia since Section 5 of the Voter Rights Act of 65 was demolished in Holder Vs Shelby; the National NAACP and Georgia NAACP are mobilizing a petition to get those voting places reinstated. “The struggle for fairness in elections is not over, though the tactics of those who would suppress voting have changed,”stated President Blake, quoting from the Dissenting Opinion of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“I want to ensure that regardless of what anyone tries to do, that our people have a right to exercise their constitutional right to vote. This is what real democracy is based on, the right of each person to be equal at the voting booth – anything else is simply another form of voter suppression,” added Blake.
The Georgia NAACP signed on to a letter to the Randolph County Board of Elections with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to object to the plan to close voter polling stations in this predominately Black community as a means to suppress the vote.
According to reports, the Board of Elections is scheduled to hold a final meeting on these proposed closings on August 24th – the Georgia NAACP will make its presence visible at this meeting.
The proposed plan will reduce polling stations from 9 to only 2 in an area that is 95 percent African American. If it goes through, individuals who lack transportation in the largely rural county could be required to walk up to 15 miles for the nearest polling station.
“We will fight this tooth and nail and mobilize our units around the state to make sure our folks can get to the polls for these midterm elections. Protecting the vote is a legacy of the NAACP and one I plan to keep,” added Blake.