In a small Georgia town the battle over suppression of the Black vote has taken a turn that borders on the Gestapo tactics of Nazi Germany. Police officers in the town of Sparta are actually going to the homes of mostly Black residents to challenge their voting registration information. The move comes at the direction of the Hancock County Board of Elections and Registration.
So far, an estimated 180 Black residents have had police come to their home with summonses commanding them to appear in person to prove their residence or lose their voting rights. According to demographic records, these residents make up one-fifth of the registered voters in the town. The attorney for Hancock County Barry Fleming claims that the policies are meant to bring order to the voting process after a period of corruption. He stated to media, “The allegations that people were denied the right to vote are the opposite of the truth. This is probably more about politics and power than race.”
A Sparta election official identified as Marion Warren is quoted as saying, “A lot of those people that was challenged probably didn’t vote, even though they weren’t proven to be wrong…People just do not understand why a sheriff is coming to their house to bring them a subpoena, especially if they haven’t committed any crime.”
Black voter suppression in Georgia has a long history that dates back to the days of Jim Crow segregation laws. But it is not only Georgia that has come under scrutiny over attempts to dilute the Black vote. Throughout the South, new voter ID laws have placed an undue burden on many Black and elderly voters. In addition, there has been a move by many states to either eliminate or shorten early voting for crucial elections. Many of these actions took place after the election of President Barack Obama and are viewed as a direct reaction to suppress Black voting power.