(photo credit: Jason Riedy)
From Think Progress:
Fulton County, Georgia admitted to illegally disenfranchising and misleading voters in the 2008 and 2012 elections in a settlement this month. For more than two dozen violations of state law — including improperly rejecting eligible ballots and sending voters to the wrong precincts — the county will pay a fine of $180,000. To make sure the problems do not continue in the future, the county has promised to spend an additional $200,000 on new training software for their poll workers.
The county, which includes Atlanta, has a heavily African American voting population and leans progressive, voting overwhelmingly for President Obama in 2008 and 2012. As detailed in the new settlement, county elections officials misinformed the precincts of who was coming to vote and when, failed to provide absentee ballots to voters who requested them, and failed to put voters who registered on time on the rolls, among other violations. The head of Fulton County’s elections office was fired last year, which she credits to her refusal to cover up the improper purging of voters in 2012.
Yet the problems facing voters of color in Georgia are not confined to Fulton County. When neighboring DeKalb County, another stronghold of African American Democrats, opened an early voting location in a popular mall, Georgia State Senator Fran Millar (R) publicly lamented that “this location is dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches.” He later added, “I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters.”
Last year, during a tight race for an open Senate seat, more than 40,000 newly registered voters — most of them young, low-income, and black — vanished from the rolls. When voting rights groups sued the state and several counties to force them to process the registrations, the Secretary of State instead accused the groups of committing voter fraud — a move the NAACP and other civil rights groups saw as an attempt to scare them away from future voter registration drives.
In 2008, John McCain won Georgia by a 5.2% margin. In 2012, Romney won the state by 7.8%. (stats from wikipedia) Maybe those jokers would have won anyway, but this is no way to run a purported democracy.
And seriously - a $180,000 fine? Peanuts (Georgia pun not intended). Not exactly a deterrent. And if it happened in Georgia, you can be damn sure it happened/is happening/will happen elsewhere. We must remain beyond vigilant. This should be a national outrage.