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Georgia election crisis grows as seniors ordered off a bus for early voting

Black Voters Matter activists and seniors thought they were headed to the polls (Image source: Facebook/Black Voters Matter)

The upcoming Georgia midterm elections have been fraught with highly questionable tactics to suppress the Black vote.

Last week, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is running for Georgia governor was hit with a lawsuit over the actions of his office. The Campaign Legal Center and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a lawsuit over Kemp’s tactics with voter suppression. According to CNN, Kemp’s office is holding the registration process of at least 53K voters, of which 70 percent are Black, across Georgia because of minor mismatch errors with driver’s licenses or social security information. There have been calls for Kemp, who is in charge of elections in Georgia to step down from office. The latest incident of voter suppression comes from Louisville, Georgia, in Jefferson County. The county is rural and 53 percent Black.

On Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, the organization Black Voters Matter arranged a ride to the polls for seniors at the Leisure Center in Jefferson County. The seniors were offered a ride to an early voting center, and at least 40 boarded the bus fired up to vote.

But according to Black Voters Matter co-founder Chris Albright, Leisure Center’s staff said someone had called the county commissioner and complained that the bus should not be taking voters to the polls. The seniors were then told to get off the bus because it was an illegal voting activity. The seniors were upset and got off the bus and did not get a chance to early vote that day.

When organizers of the ride called the Jefferson County County Commissioners office, they were told by county commission clerk Bonnie Wells that no one had called their office and lodged a complaint. Black Voters Matter co-founder LaTosha Brown said there was nothing illegal about the group’s activity and called the situation a clear-cut case of “voter intimidation.”

Brown went on to state to the media outlet Think Progress, “This is voter suppression, Southern style. I’m very upset. I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I’ve got a lot of emotions right now.”