Are You Surprised That Georgia is Going Back to Jim Crow Tactics?

It’s getting old detailing all the crappy ways that Republicans try to game elections rather than just going out and trying to win them. The latest comes from Georgia, where the game is to hold down black turnout by closing the polling places most convenient to black folks:

Civil rights advocates are objecting to a proposal to close about 75 percent of polling locations in a predominantly black south Georgia county.

The Randolph County elections board is scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss a proposal that would eliminate seven of nine polling locations in the county, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. Included in the proposed closures is Cuthbert Middle School where nearly 97 percent of voters are black.

“There is strong evidence that this was done with intent to make it harder for African Americans,” ACLU of Georgia attorney Sean Young said. The ACLU has sent a letter to the elections board demanding that the polling places remain open and has filed open records requests for information about the proposal to close the polling places.

This is the kind of stuff that the Voting Rights Act was supposed to prevent. A state like Georgia with a history of black disenfranchisement isn’t supposed to be able to move around polling places without getting preclearance from the Department of Justice. But that all ended when the pre-Gorsuch, pre-Kavanaugh Roberts Court decided it was conservative enough to declare racism obsolete.

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court rolled back Voting Rights Act requirements that required many jurisdictions to receive permission before changing ways people are allowed to vote. They used to have to prove the voting changes weren’t discriminatory, but that’s no longer the case.

“This is an example of what localities are doing without the pre-clearance requirement,” Andrea Young said.

In addition to statewide offices, Randolph County voters will also vote for state legislative seats in November. All nine polling locations were used during this year’s primary and Republican run-off, so it is unclear why the locations would be closed down, Andrea Young said.

Since the Democrats nominated a charismatic black woman as their gubernatorial candidate, the Good Old Boys are naturally tapping into their inner Lester Maddox.

But they’ll just say that Lester Maddox was a Democrat and the Democrats are the real racists. And, in any case, would Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III really do anything to protect black voting rights even if he actually needed to make a decision?

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.