Two civil rights organizations and a handful of Spartans accuse Hancock County’s election board of racially biased purges of black voters in the weeks before November elections.
The suit was brought by the Georgia NAACP, the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda and five voters.
The county election board heard challenges to approximately 174 voters in August, September and October this year, according to the suit just filed in federal court. Nearly all those were challenges to black voters, say plaintiffs. They also call the hearings “a sham,” without consistent criteria or procedures. They want the feds to step in.
Hancock County has yet to file its response in court.
But here’s the original complaint.
Georgia NAACP President Francys Johnson told WMAZ that the suit is part of “ongoing post-Shelby administration monitoring across Georgia.”
Shelby v. Holder, you’ll recall, is that 2013 Supreme Court ruling that struck down part of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1965, the part called “preclearance.”
Between 1965 and Shelby, areas that had a history of discriminating against minority voters <cough, cough, like the Deep South> had to get fed approval before making any voting changes: redrawing districts, changing polling places, etc. That made it harder to keep hindering black voters; the feds would stop you from doing anything too blatantly wrong.
That changed when five justices agreed with Shelby County, Alabama that Jim Crow is beat down enough that not every city, county and state should still carry the burden of proving themselves to the federal government all the time for every little thing. Though voting discrimination still exits, covering so many places with preclearance wasn’t fair, most of the court found.
OTOH, there’s the other four justices. They agreed with the majority that voting discrimination still exists. But they said the preclearance map in the VRA was worth keeping because unlike earlier federal rules, it had been “particularly effective” at curbing discrimination. And besides, Congress had just renewed the thing.