Special Report: Something’s Rotten in the State of Georgia

Georgia’s Shameful Record of Voter Suppression and the Partisan and Sometimes Racially Charged Motivations of Those Administering Its Elections


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In Georgia, political figures from statewide elected officials and state legislators to county election board members on the local level, have introduced voter suppression initiatives that make it increasingly difficult for minority voters to exercise their rights to vote. The motivation behind these efforts has often been admittedly partisan with many officials articulating the political benefit of restricting access to the ballot. At times, many of these same officials have expressed vile, racially charged sentiments to justify their policies or advance their politics.

A host of voter suppression policies have already been implemented in Georgia, including voter ID laws, proof of citizenship requirements for voter registration, cutting back on early and Sunday voting, and strict restrictions on the voting rights of felons. Despite the broad range of polices already enacted, there is little reason to believe these officials won’t pursue additional ways to suppress the vote.

Research has shown that voter suppressions policies, like forcing residents to show identification before casting a ballot or requiring eligible voters to prove their U.S. citizenship with a birth certificate in order to register to vote, disproportionately affect minority voters, as well as senior citizens, the disabled, and low-income voters.

While some politicians tout “rampant” voter fraud as the rationale behind such restrictive policies, in reality there is no evidence of widespread, fraudulent voting taking place in Georgia or in any other state. Instead, Georgia officials who advocate for voter suppression policies have openly expressed political motivations for disenfranchising minority voters, who are more likely to vote Democratic in elections.

Voter suppression efforts in Georgia are being pushed by prominent statewide elected officials, like Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Governor Nathan Deal. Kemp, who has pointed out that minority voter registration drives could hurt Georgia Republicans in elections, has repeatedly targeted for investigation voter registration and turnout efforts focused on minority voters, despite a history of finding little to no evidence of fraud. The secretary of state’s office also has faced numerous mismanagement issues, including a massive data breach that released the personal information of every registered Georgia voter, and an illegal purge of 8,000 eligible voters from the voting rolls. Governor Deal has backed Kemp’s suppression efforts.

While statewide elected officials like Secretary of State Kemp and Governor Deal are the most prominent figures advocating for voter suppression policies throughout Georgia, state legislators and county election officials on the local level also have important roles in shaping voting and election policies. Unfortunately, many of these officials actively support voter suppression policies, openly voicing political motivations for disenfranchising minority voters. Even more troubling, these state and local officials are rarely held accountable for inappropriate partisan statements, or their racially charged and offensive comments made on social media, that demonstrate a lack of objectivity in protecting the rights of ALL voters.

Voter suppression policies disenfranchise minority voters in Georgia, making it difficult and sometimes impossible for them to exercise their constitutional rights to vote. The offensive and partisan statements made by advocates should not be overlooked when evaluating their proposals to make voting less accessible for Georgians.

This report examines recent voter suppression initiatives in Georgia and sheds light on the players behind these efforts and the problematic political and sometimes racially charged motivations that shape their decisions. Statewide elected officials and several state legislators notable for voter suppression actions were investigated, as were local election boards in the most Georgia’s most populous counties, highlighting those with particularly problematic election board members. This report provides an overview of current voter suppression issues in Georgia as well as the partisan political actors behind them, in order to combat the ongoing assault on voting rights in the state.


Voter Suppression in Georgia

Voter Restrictions in Georgia

Georgia has enacted a number of laws that restrict who is able to vote in elections and that prove especially burdensome for minorities. The state enforces a strict voter ID law that requires residents to show photo identification when voting in person. Along with Indiana, Georgia was one of the first states in the nation to introduce such a law, which it began implementing in 2007.[1] Georgia currently accepts six different forms of ID in order to vote: a valid state or federal government-issued photo ID, a Georgia driver’s license, a valid employee photo ID from the U.S. government or any Georgia government entity, a valid U.S. passport, a valid U.S. military photo ID, or a valid tribal photo ID.[2]

If a resident does not have one of the required forms of identification, they can apply for a free state-issued voter identification card—if they can jump through the onerous hoops required. Before receiving a voter identification card, applicants must provide extensive documentation proving their identity, date of birth, residential address, and that they are registered to vote.[3] Georgia voters who go to the polls and are unable to show proper ID must cast provisional ballots. They then have three days to show an accepted form of ID at their county registrar’s office. If they are unable to show such identification within three days, their votes will not be counted.[4]

It should be noted that voter ID laws have been shown to disproportionately affect minority, elderly, disabled, and low-income voters, who face greater obstacles obtaining the types of identification required to vote. A study conducted by political scientists at the University of California at San Diego analyzed voter turnout between 2008 and 2012 and found “substantial drops in turnout for minorities under strict voter ID laws.”[5] Between November 2008 and September 2012, at least 1,586 Georgians didn’t have their ballots counted because they were unable to show approved identification.[6] Obtaining a photo ID can be costly and the bureaucratic process can be especially difficult for low-income and elderly voters who may not have birth certificates because they were born at home instead of in a hospital.[7] In fact, “more than 21 million Americans do not have government-issued photo identification [and] a disproportionate number of [them] are low-income, racial and ethnic minorities, and elderly.”[8]

In 2009, Georgia passed a law that required voter registration applicants to prove their U.S. citizenship when registering by showing a birth certificate or passport, another unnecessary burden that disproportionately affects minority voters. The law has been plagued with issues, including technical problems with enforcement. The U.S. Supreme Court partially blocked Georgia from enforcing the law, ruling in 2013 that a similar proof of citizenship requirement in Arizona was not legal under federal law. Although Georgia  Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a leading proponent of voter suppression policies in the state, has aggressively sought access, Georgia has never been able to enforce the proof of citizenship law because it has no access to the federal immigration database that would allow confirmation of voter registration applicants’ U.S. citizenship.[9] In fact, a recent federal appeals court decision may make it even less likely that Georgia will succeed in its attempt to require proof of citizenship when residents register to vote using the federal form.

In January 2016, Brian Newby, the newly appointed executive director of the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), an independent commission responsible for federal voter registration standards, made the unilateral decision that residents of Alabama, Kansas, and Georgia could no longer register to vote using the federal form without showing documentation of U.S. citizenship. The action was panned by voting rights advocates, as well as by one of the EAC’s own commissioners, who said Newby did not have the authority to implement the policy.[10] Newby and the EAC were sued by the League of Women Voters and other voting rights groups and on September 9, 2016 the U.S. District Court of Appeals enjoined the enforcement of “decisions of [EAC] Executive Director, Brian D. Newby, approving requests by Kansas, Alabama, and Georgia to add a proof of citizenship requirement to the state-specific instructions that accompany the National Mail Voter Registration Form.” In reaching the decision, the court made clear that enforcing Newby’s unilateral decision would result in “irreparable harm.”[11]

Prior to working for the EAC, Brian Newby worked as a county election commissioner in Kansas under Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an anti-immigration activist notorious for promoting voter suppression policies across the country. Kobach has managed and promoted a program called Crosscheck, a master list of almost seven million “potential double voters” that, although criticized for being highly inaccurate, is used in several states, including Georgia.[12]

Georgia also has strict laws regarding felon voting. In the state, any person convicted of a felony cannot vote until they have completed their sentence and paid all associated fees and fines.[13] Such restrictions disenfranchise minority voters at a higher rate than non-minority voters, with nearly 7.7 percent of African American voters disenfranchised nationwide by felon voting restrictions, compared to 1.8 percent of the non-African American population.[14] Felons who are ineligible to vote under state law constitute 4.2 percent of Georgia’s voting-age population—a higher percentage than any other state in the country.[15]

Election Administration Issues

Early voting, including Sunday voting, helps make voting easier, especially for minority voters. For example, black voters in Georgia have cast approximately one-third of early ballots since 2008, and also cast 53 percent of votes on the Sunday before the November 2014 election.[16] Currently, Georgia’s in-person early voting starts twenty-one days before an election and advanced voting starts forty-five days before.[17] Georgia allows each county to decide if it will offer Sunday voting, instead of mandating it on a statewide level. In 2014, only eleven out of Georgia’s 159 counties offered the service.[18] Georgia is also one of eight states that have sharply cut back on early voting despite the positive effects it has on voter turnout. In 2011, Georgia Republicans cut in-person early voting from forty-five days to twenty-one days before an election, and attempted to cut that even further, to only twelve days in 2015.[19]

Georgia officials have also been criticized for problematic redistricting plans that harm minority voters. In 2015, for example, Georgia Republicans proposed a legislative district map for Gwinnett and Henry Counties that Democrats argued would dilute the influence of black voters. Despite this opposition, the redistricting plan bill was signed into law, with the newly drawn districts in effect for the 2016 elections.[20]

Voter suppression policies are being pushed by a range of officials in Georgia, from local election board members to statewide elected officeholders. Officials who advocate for burdensome voting restrictions have openly voiced political motivations for depriving minority voters of their ability to cast a vote and have made partisan and racially charged comments, even when they are elected to impartially protect voting rights and administer elections for all Georgians.


Voter Suppression from the Top Down

Secretary of State Brian Kemp

Leading the crusade to suppress voting rights in Georgia is Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who has actively promoted voter suppression policies since becoming secretary of state in 2010. In addition to advocating for these policies, Kemp also has framed the debate in overtly political terms and conducted meritless investigations of voting rights groups.

Voter Identification and Proof of Citizenship Restrictions

Kemp is a vocal supporter of voter suppression policies. He has backed voter ID and proof-of-citizenship requirements, and has opposed automatic voter registration. Kemp has claimed to support burdensome voting policies in the name of stopping voter fraud, although he has repeatedly failed to prove the existence of such fraud. Kemp admitted that he believes that registering minority voters is a threat to Republican control in Georgia. Leading up to the 2014 elections, Kemp said that Democrats were “registering all these minority voters that are out there and others that are sitting on the sidelines” and “if they can do that, they can win these elections in November.”[21]

Kemp supported making voting less accessible by cutting early voting times. He supported the controversial bill, pushed by Georgia Republicans and signed into law by Governor Deal in 2011, which shortened the in-person early voting period from forty-five days to twenty-one days. Kemp said that the law was “an example of having a state government that listens to what’s going on all over the state instead of just in Atlanta” because it was designed to save money.[22]

Kemp also praised Georgia’s burdensome proof-of-citizenship law, which was passed before he was elected secretary of state, calling it “a common-sense enhancement” that will prevent voter fraud in the state.[23] Since taking office, Kemp has requested that the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) start requiring Georgia residents to provide proof of U.S. citizenship when registering to vote with the Federal Form.[24] Kemp’s request was granted in a unilateral decision by EAC’s executive director, Brian Newby, in an unprecedented move that may be overturned as a violation of EAC policy. Until then, however, Kemp may be one step closer to enforcing unnecessary and burdensome proof-of-citizenship requirements for Georgia voters.

Kemp has opposed automatic voter registration, which would make voter registration significantly easier for minority voters. When Georgia Congressman John Lewis and others pushed a bill that would automatically register people to vote, while allowing them to opt out of voter registration if they preferred, Kemp said that “some people don’t want to be registered to vote,” claiming that the choice not to vote is “what makes America great.”[25]

Targeting Nonpartisan Voter Registration Groups and Wasting Government Resources

Kemp didn’t stop at promoting discriminatory voter suppression policies for openly political reasons. He has repeatedly investigated minority voter registration and turnout efforts, despite failing to uncover any instances of widespread fraud. The secretary of state’s office has aggressively investigated progressive groups that focus on registering minority voters, while not applying the same scrutiny to similar conservative efforts.[26] Kemp’s targeting of voter registration drives is an assault on minority voting; the non-partisan, minority-focused voter registration group New Georgia Project has found “that citizens of color register through voter registration drives at twice the rate of whites.”[27]

Only two months after voicing his concerns that minority voter registration efforts were threatening Republican control in Georgia, Kemp announced a criminal investigation into the New Georgia Project. Kemp’s office found no evidence of widespread fraud in its investigation, concluding that only about 0.001% of the group’s tens of thousands of registration forms were suspicious. State law requires New Georgia Project canvassers to turn in voter registration applications regardless of how people fill them out.[28] Despite finding no evidence of widespread voter fraud, Kemp’s office failed to process voter registrations in a timely manner, causing voters to miss voting in the primary elections. Editorials in the Waycross Journal-Herald and Savannah Morning News said that Kemp “embarrassed himself” with his allegations of voter fraud and “ate some serious crow” after admitting that there was no evidence of widespread fraud by the New Georgia Project.[29]

Kemp also spent two and a half years investigating the non-partisan Asian American Legal Advocacy Center (AALAC) and found no evidence any violations. AALAC, an organization that registered newly naturalized citizens to vote, discovered that Kemp’s office had launched an investigation into their voter registrations after one of their attorneys inquired about voters AALAC had attempted to register not being added to the voter rolls. Kemp’s office responded by informing AALAC of its investigation, and asked the organization to turn over records because of “potential legal concerns surrounding AALAC’s photocopying and public disclosure of voter registration applications.” No violations were found even after a full two and a half years of investigation. The executive director of Asians Americans Advancing Justice (formerly AALAC) stated that the group was “retaliated against” by Kemp’s office.[30]

The State of Georgia settled a lawsuit in 2012 alleging that it had violated the National Voter Registration Act by not offering voter registration to public assistance recipients. The lawsuit, brought by the Georgia  and others, alleged that the state refused to follow procedures for distributing voter registration forms to public assistance recipients. Kemp signed off on the settlement agreement, which included $175,000 in attorney fees and a confirmation that the state would provide the opportunity to register to vote to public assistance recipients as required by the National Voter Registration Act. Despite agreeing to the settlement, Kemp condemned the lawsuit and being forced to comply with what he called “outdated and unneeded federal voter registration mandates.”[31]

Challenging the Historic Election of Majority-Black School Board on Tenuous Grounds

Kemp’s investigations of voter registration efforts, in addition to being dubious uses of taxpayer funding, were politically motivated witch-hunts that found no evidence of wrongdoing. In another case, after Brooks County elected an historic majority-black school board in 2010 following get-out-the-vote efforts targeting minority voters, Kemp sent investigators door-to-door in black neighborhoods in Quitman, a small town in Brooks County, ultimately alleging technical breaches in absentee ballot procedure. A dozen voting organizers were arrested, including three who had won seats on the school board. With their charges pending, Governor Nathan Deal issued an executive order temporarily removing the newly-elected school board members from the board so it was no longer majority-black. Twelve Quitman residents were charged with crimes, some with multiple felonies, including one resident who faced two felony charges for helping her partially blind and disabled father fill out his absentee ballot.[32] The NAACP referred to Kemp’s investigation as a “witch-hunt,” and applauded the fact that, four years after the election, all charges against the eleven Quitman residents (one had since passed away) were dropped, despite the damage that had already been done to the individuals’ lives by Kemp’s office.[33]

The Purge: Election Years

The Georgia Secretary of State regularly purges voters from the voting rolls due to inactivity, a practice that is being challenged in court by voting rights groups. If a person has not had contact with election officials for three years, has filed a change of address, or has election mail returned to sender, the Secretary of State’s office sends a notice to them. If the notice finds no response, the voter’s status is changed to “inactive.” If the voter is not heard from for two general election cycles after that, their voter registration is canceled. In February 2014, Kemp’s office purged around 312,000 voter registrations through this process.[34] Kemp’s voter purge practice is being challenged in court by Common Cause and the Georgia NAACP, who argue that canceling voter registrations due to inactivity is a violation of federal law, citing the National Voter Registration Act, which prohibits purging voter registrations because individuals did not vote.[35] According to the lawsuit, which the groups filed against Brian Kemp, 372,242 voters had their voter registration status canceled “due to failure to vote” between October 2012 and November 2014.[36]

Kemp’s office has illegally purged voters from the voting rolls. His election director, Linda Ford, was forced to resign in 2015 after “a technical error” resulted in nearly 8,000 voters being purged from the voter rolls by having their registration status changed from “inactive” to “canceled.” This is the way Georgia routinely purges its voter rolls, but because the change occurred less than ninety days before a federal election, the voter purge was a direct violation of the National Voter Registration Act. Kemp called the error “an honest mistake” by Ford and said that there was “no conspiracy,” but “if she remained, she would become a scapegoat.” Kemp continued, “I have to make sure the people know that my biggest duty in the office is to maintain the integrity of the system.” At least one voter reported having problems with voting due to the illegal voter purge. [37]

The Georgia secretary of state’s office also participates in anti-immigrant crusader and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s Crosscheck program, a master list of almost seven million potential double-voters that has been criticized for being highly inaccurate.[38] Crosscheck consolidates voter information from participating states for cross-reference with the goal of identifying voters who may be voting illegally in multiple states. Although the program has flagged millions of mismatched, potential double-voters, it has been criticized for its inaccuracy. Crosscheck often flags voters based on only first and last names, ignoring middle names, suffixes, and birthdates. In cases where voter information includes the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, those numbers are purposely ignored, increasing the number of erroneously matched voters.[39] Critics of the program have also noted that Crosscheck flags minority voters at disproportionate rates.[40] Kemp has said that his office does not use Crosscheck to purge Georgia voter rolls, but does share voter information with other states who may use the program to purge their rolls.

Massive Data Breach and (More) Wasting Government Resources

Secretary of State Kemp was named as a defendant in lawsuit filed in September 2016 by the Georgia NAACP, the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta. The groups argued that Georgia’s strict matching requirements for voter registration forms blocked thousands of minorities from successfully registering to vote.

According to the lawsuit, minority applicants were far more likely than white applicants to be rejected due to information on voter registration forms not exactly matching the same letters and numbers in Georgia’s Department of Drivers Service and federal Social Security Administration databases. The lawsuit stated that Georgia “denied 34,874 registration applications from 2013 to 2016 due to mismatched information. Of those, black applicants were eight times more likely to fail the state’s verification process than white applicants, and Latinos and Asian-Americans were six times more likely to fail.”[41]

In late September, Georgia “agreed to temporarily suspend a requirement that has prevented tens of thousands of residents from registering to vote as it works toward a possible settlement in” the lawsuit brought by the NAACP and others. The state “also agreed to stop the automatic rejection of applications that don’t exactly match information in state and federal databases as part of the agreement.”[42]

Massive Data Breach and (More) Wasting Government Resources

Kemp’s office attracted major negative publicity after a massive data breach that released the personal information, including Social Security numbers, of every registered voter in Georgia. Voter information, including Social Security numbers, birth dates, and driver’s license numbers, was inadvertently sent to a dozen political and media organizations, including the state Republican and Democratic parties. Kemp blamed a single staffer for the breach, which his office discovered a full month after the breach occurred, although records showed that repeated, widespread disregard of policy in the secretary of state’s office contributed to the data breach.[43] After the breach, Kemp announced that all 6.2 million registered voters in Georgia would be eligible for a free year of credit and identity theft monitoring paid for by the secretary of state’s office. The offer, to fix an issue caused by negligence in Kemp’s office, was estimated to cost taxpayers $1.2 million.[44] U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson called for a federal investigation and the League of Women Voters of Georgia asked for an independent inquiry into the data breach. Governor Nathan Deal denied requests to open an inquiry, saying that he was still confident in Kemp’s leadership despite the breach.[45]

Governor Nathan Deal

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, who has aided Brian Kemp with his voter suppression efforts, has been a vocal opponent of expanding voting accessibility since taking office in 2011. In his first year in office, Deal signed legislation that cut back in-person early voting from forty-five days to twenty-one days before an election,[46] which was supported by Kemp. Deal has also opposed Sunday voting. Of DeKalb County’s plan to allow for Sunday voting in 2014, he said that it had “a partisan purpose behind it of trying to increase the Democratic turnout,” and stating, “I don’t think anything that has to do with elections should be tilted one way or the other for partisan purposes.”[47] Deal’s belief that enabling all eligible voters to vote is somehow “partisan” demonstrates his own political bias towards voter suppression.

Deal has used offensive, racially charged language to convey his support of proof-of-citizenship laws. During remarks at a 2009 campaign event, Deal, then a U.S. congressman and gubernatorial candidate, used the phrase “ghetto grandmothers” to describe people who had difficulty proving their U.S. citizenship status in order to vote. In defending proof-of-citizenship requirements, Deal said, “We got all the complaints of the ghetto grandmothers who didn’t have birth certificates and all that.” Deal later apologized for his offensive remarks that demonstrated his obliviousness to burdensome voting restrictions.[48]

Deal also supported Kemp’s investigation of the New Georgia Project, the non-partisan voter registration group that focuses on minority voters. The governor’s 2014 re-election campaign seized on Kemp’s announcement of the investigation to take a dig at Deal’s opponent, Democrat Jason Carter. After the secretary of state’s announcement, Deal’s campaign spokesman tweeted, “We now know how Carter plans to get to those 200,000 new voters he says he needs.”[49] The New Georgia Project investigation ultimately revealed no evidence of widespread voter fraud.


Voter Suppression in the Georgia State Legislature

While statewide elected officials like Governor Deal and Secretary of State Kemp are influential, visible figures promoting voter suppression policies in Georgia, state legislators also have a significant impact on the issue. Over the past few years, the Republican-dominated Georgia legislature has introduced a handful of bills that would disenfranchise minority voters.

Voter suppression bills have garnered support in the GOP-lead legislature and several Georgia state legislators are especially notable for supporting bills aimed at making it more difficult for minority voters to cast their ballots. Like the elected officials advocating for these policies through their statewide offices, state legislators also have voiced political motivation for the laws, sometimes through racially charged and offensive rhetoric.

State Senator Fran Millar

State Senator Fran Millar made national news for his partisan, racially charged opposition to voter turnout efforts in Georgia. Millar said, in 2014, that he was upset by efforts to increase voter turnout in an area with a large African-American population, complaining, “we are to have Sunday voting at South DeKalb Mall just prior to the election,” a location “dominated by African American shoppers and . . . near several large African American mega churches.” He said “[he] would prefer more educated voters.” After being called out for his offensive comments Millar complained that people were calling him “racist” and defended his comments by asserting, “This is politics. It’s not about race.” He called the voter turnout effort “a partisan stunt” that he “hoped [could] be stopped,” explaining, “If you don’t believe this is an efort [sic] to maximize Democratic votes pure and simple, then you are not a realist.”[50]

Millar has a history of posting racially charged statements on social media. In a series of comments in response to a post encouraging people to shop at minority-owned businesses, Millar seemed to compare being a member of the “minority” Republican Party in predominantly black DeKalb County, to being African-American, and complained that “whites are tired of being blamed for past situations they did not play a part in.” Millar commented, “When I start shopping at businesses based on the race of the owner, then I give evidence of racism. I understand $$ talk [sic] but this is not the way to bring people together.” He continued later in the thread, “My local coffee shop is owned by Indians and grocery is a chain. My local high school is majority minority students. Also my political party is a minority in DeKalb,” and, “Our present attitude vs. inclusiveness doesn’t seem to be working. I think it is safe to say that many whites are tired of being blamed for past situations they did not play a part in.”[51]

Millar also praised Gwinnett County Sherriff Butch Conway for suggesting that the Black Lives Matter movement is made up of “domestic terrorists with an agenda.” Millar characterized “Black Lives Matter” as a “divisive slogan,” and said “people are tired of all problems being reduced to race.” He went on to suggest that racism “will probably always be a problem.”[52]

State Representative Barry Fleming

State Representative Barry Fleming sponsored a bill in 2014 to curtail early voting in municipal elections from a minimum of sixteen days to only six days before the election.[53] Fleming said that HB 891, which would drastically reduce early voters’ access to the polls, “does not change anyone’s ability to vote,” claiming that small cities would be happy to only allow residents to vote on election day.[54] However, the bill was fiercely opposed by a range of voting groups, civil rights organizations, and faith-based advocacy groups and eventually died in Georgia’s General Assembly after passing the Senate.[55]

Rep. Fleming also defended voter suppression policies outside of his role as a state legislator when he was hired by the Hancock County Board of Elections after the NAACP filed a complaint against it in federal court. The NAACP alleges that the board conducted “improper and racially based challenges and purges of black registered voters” when the board challenged almost a fifth of voter registrations in the city of Sparta, resulting in qualified black voters being purged from the voter rolls.[56] The lawsuit, which has not yet been decided, argues the board aimed to give an advantage to white candidates in Sparta’s municipal elections. Fleming, however, claimed that the lawsuit is overblown and that “the allegations that people were denied the right to vote are the opposite of the truth. . . . This is probably more about politics and power.”[57]

State Representative Mark Hamilton

State Representative Mark Hamilton, before resigning from the Georgia legislature in 2015 to take a private sector job in Tennessee, sponsored several efforts to suppress voting in the Georgia House of Representatives during his tenure.

Hamilton introduced numerous bills in the Georgia House that would cut early voting, including the one signed into law in 2011 that cut in-person early voting from forty-five to twenty-one days. Even after Georgia Republicans enacted Hamilton’s bill that cut early voting, Hamilton continued introducing bills that would cut back early voting even more. Hamilton introduced HB 194 in 2015, a bill that would cut the number of early voting days from twenty-one to twelve and restrict options for weekend voting. Although the bill’s sponsors argued that the bill would save money, voting rights advocates opposed the bill as another way for the state to limit accessibility to voting.[58] The previous year, along with Rep. Barry Fleming and others, Hamilton had introduced HB 891, which cut early voting in municipal elections.[59] Neither of the bills became law.

Hamilton also sponsored controversial legislation, supported by Secretary of State Kemp, that would move local elections in Augusta and the state’s other consolidated cities and counties, from November, when voter turnout is high, to July, when fewer minority voters make it to the polls.[60] The Augusta branch of the NAACP called the legislation a “maneuver to suppress” the participation of the city’s African American voters. The effort was blocked by the federal government under the Voting Rights Act, citing the harm the change would have on minority voters.[61]


Georgia’s Local Election Board Members

On The Front Lines of Voter Suppression (and Racially Charged Commentary)

Local election boards, which operate independently from state elections offices, have a significant amount of power and discretion in shaping election processes. The local boards are responsible for conducting primary and general elections and, in 100 of Georgia’s 159 counties, they are combined with county boards of registrations, which are responsible for voter registration and absentee ballot procedures. There is no uniform standard for the makeup of local election boards, aside from one requirement for at least three members on each board. Instead, local legislation lays out the number of members to be appointed to the local board, the manner in which they are appointed, and the lengths of their terms.[62] In many counties, both the Republican and Democratic parties appoint one or two board members each to the board of elections.

Local election boards have a great amount of power in registering voters and conducting elections, and some members of the boards are actively opposed to accessible elections for minority voters. County election boards have been criticized for closing polling places and consolidating precincts in ways that disenfranchise minority voters. Board members also have opposed Sunday voting in their counties, and rejected ballots of eligible voters. Voter suppression happens at the county level, as well at the state level, and county election board members often have political motivations that influence their decisions.

The Gwinnett County Board of Registrations and Elections

The Gwinnett County Board of Registrations and Elections has refused to provide Spanish-language ballots for the upcoming 2016 elections, with four of the five board members voting to reject a request for bilingual ballots. The Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials said the group would pursue the matter in court, citing a violation of the Voting Rights Act. Both of the Republican-appointed members of the board, Alice O’Lenick and Ben Satterfield, voted to prevent Spanish-language ballots in the election. O’Lenick, the chair of the Gwinnett County election board, said the board did not have enough information to determine whether it should provide bilingual ballots but said, “If a judge says do this, we’ll do it.”[63]

O’Lenick, has made numerous offensive, racially charged remarks on social media. O’Lenick commented on Facebook that “we have overspent in the inner city,” and that “after emancipation all black Americans were offered free transport, a home, livestock if they wanted to return to Africa . . . so there was no force to stay.”[64] O’Lenick also joined a “We Support Paula Deen” Facebook page that was created two days after it was reported that Deen had made racist comments, including using the “N” word and saying she wanted to hire black waiters to dress as “slaves” for a theme party.[65] On Facebook, O’Lenick also agreed with fellow Gwinnett County election board member, Ben Satterfield, when he wrote that he refused to differentiate between ISIS/ISIL and all other Muslims. O’Lenick wrote, “I agree with Ben . . . And yes I have read their book and in page 2 it says to murder.”[66]

Satterfield is the other Republican-appointed board member who voted with O’Lenick to reject the request for Spanish-language ballots in Gwinnett County. He also has posted offensive, racially charged comments extensively on social media. In an extremely troubling comment for a local election official, Satterfield wrote on Facebook, “I do think we have cheapened the vote for some folks by making it to [sic] easy, no sacrifice involved now!!!!”[67] Satterfield is a member of a Facebook group called the Georgia Voter Protection Committee, whose members regularly post far-right voter fraud conspiracies.[68] He has bashed immigrants who “cross our borders illegally, get drivers license [sic], vote in our elections; collect social security and welfare,” warning that “Jesus is coming back sooner than we think.”[69] Satterfield also posted that Trayvon Martin was a “felon” and Michael Brown was a “thug” who “was made an angel by our Barak [sic] Obama, Al Sharpton & Jesse Jackson.”[70] Satterfield has shared fringe, right-wing views extensively on social media, writing that President Obama “hates everything that has made the USA one of the great countries of the world,” and implying that Obama supported terrorism.[71]

The Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections

Both Republican members of the Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections, Herb Spangler and Rinda Wilson, have opposed Sunday voting and supported reducing the number of voting locations in Bibb County, citing explicitly partisan reasons for their positions. At a contentious hearing, Wilson and Spangler voted against allowing Sunday voting in the November 2014 elections.[72] Wilson called the proposed Sunday voting “a partisan thing” that is backed by Democrats “as a way just to wring out every last vote.”[73]

Both Spangler and Wilson supported reducing the number of polling precincts in Macon-Bibb County from forty to twenty-six. The plan was criticized as a way to suppress voting in black and low-income communities in the county. Spangler, however, who is also treasurer of the Bibb County GOP, said that he didn’t “really see a problem” with reducing the number voting locations.[74] The board eventually compromised and reduced the number of precincts from forty to thirty-three, instead of the originally proposed twenty-six. Wilson noted that she “was fine with the whole package,” meaning cutting the number of precincts further, but “sometimes you have to take into account perceptions, even if you think it’s not correct.”[75]

Wilson, who is the chair of the Macon-Bibb County election board, has been outspoken about her support of voter suppression policies, believing that “there’s a point in which convenience [of voting] is becoming ridiculous.”[76] Wilson has employed fiercely partisan rhetoric in her discussions of voting, suggesting that poor people vote for Democrats because they enjoy tax subsidies. Wilson wrote, “The infamous 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal taxes have now been joined by groups who are newly dependent upon taxpayer subsidies and will presumably vote for the hand that feeds them.”[77] Wilson has written a series of letters to the editor that include a variety of anti-Obama conspiracy theories, such as that President Obama has “strategies to cleverly ‘buy off’ both the more affluent voters and those voters who are struggling financially.”[78] Wilson also alleged that a friend was “almost instantly audited by the IRS” after calling “the White House to complain about Obamacare.”[79] The chairman of the Bibb County Democrats even called for Wilson’s resignation from the board of elections after she wrote in a letter to the editor that, “Every vote for a Democrat literally furthers the radical social agenda vigorously approved of and promoted by the leaders of this political party.”[80]

In addition to voicing her highly partisan rhetoric on voting, Wilson has made a range of racially charged and anti-immigrant comments. She praised a letter to the editor in the Macon Telegraph that criticized the black community for taking advantage of “food stamps, welfare payments, housing, free cellphones and other entitlements” that are “obviously” not paid for by “the black community.” The letter, written by Bob Hubbard, Sr., warned that the establishment of a “‘black community’ based on race will unquestionably result in the resurgence of . . . ‘white only’ cultures” and “might also lead to the rise of a Hispanic culture with more than twice as many members as the black community.”[81] Wilson praised Hubbard’s letter for hitting “the nail on the head about issues that are generally left off the table when the politically correct crowd discusses race in America.” She also noted that her “liberal brother” was “shocked” when told him that “the illegitimacy rate among black Americans was in the mid-70s (percent).”[82] Wilson wrote that President Obama planned to give illegal immigrants “goodies” in order to ensure that “Obama’s expanded Democratic voting block will be secure.”[83] Wilson criticized undocumented immigrants who serve in the military for “making it easier for terrorist (sic) to lie their way into our military and blow up his fellow soldiers.” She also criticized undocumented immigrants who receive college scholarships for taking “a college scholarship away from a legal U.S. citizen.”[84]

The Henry County Board of Elections

Henry County Board of Elections member Debbie Moon is another local official who openly engages in highly partisan and at times racially charged rhetoric despite her role in administering elections.[85]

Moon has shared memes on social media suggesting that Obama voters should not vote in the next election, that the Democratic Party registers dead people to vote, and that illegal immigrants vote for Democrats.[86] Moon shared an article from a right-wing news website that criticized the NAACP for asking marchers to bring a photo ID to a “Moral March” rally that, among other things, protested stricter voter ID laws in North Carolina. Moon commented, “Ok, so let me see if I understand this correctly. To prevent Voter fraud & insure [sic] we have valid elections is NOT AS IMPORTANT as who attends their little rallies? Wow…… Can we say HYPOCRITES?!”[87]

Moon also has written racially charged posts on social media. After the protests in Ferguson, MO, Moon wrote that “the focus should be” on “how to raise young ‘men of color’ so they aren’t criminals who disrespect, disobey, and assault our Law Enforcement Officers.”[88] Moon shared a meme, seemingly in reference to the Baltimore riots and looting after the death of Freddie Gray, that said, “Shoe store located in Baltimore… Work boots untouched.”[89] She also wrote “Wow – think about this,” sharing a meme that showed a Black Lives Matter protest that suggested that the group organize instead to “clean up your community and get rid of the criminal element causing the problem.”[90]

Moon shared a meme that said “You’re being treated poorly by the police? Have you tried not breaking the law to see if that helps?” and wrote “Bingo!”[91] She also shared a meme of a white police officer that said “If we really wanted you dead all we’d have to do is stop patrolling your neighborhoods… and wait.”[92]

The Fulton County Board of Registrations and Elections

Fulton County, the most populous county in Georgia, has faced charges of voter suppression in the past. A state investigation found evidence of over thirty violations of state law during the 2008 and 2012 elections in Fulton County. The county agreed to a settlement plus payment of $180,000 in fines and investigative costs. In addition to other election violations, the settlement noted that Fulton County rejected the ballots of eleven eligible voters and mishandled hundreds of ballots.[93]

Stan Matarazzo is one of the two Republican-appointed members serving on the Fulton County Board of Registrations and Elections. He has a been a board member while Fulton County has experienced numerous problems with election administration and was involved in the hiring processes of two problematic election directors, including Sam Westmoreland. Deemed responsible for a number of election problems in Fulton County, Westmoreland was found to have falsified parts of his resume and later resigned after he was incarcerated following two prescription drug DUI cases.[94] Matarazzo said that Sharon Mitchell was the only employee qualified to take over after Westmoreland’s resignation, but, after Mitchell was made interim director, she was found not to have entered 14,000 voter registration applications into the system.[95]

Matarazzo, who has made his career out of helping banks avoid taxes, threatened to suppress the voting rights of public housing tenants while he served on the county election board.[96] After the Fulton County election board found that 122 people were still registered with the address of a recently demolished public housing project, he threatened to prosecute all the voters who hadn’t filed change-of-address forms, even though lawyers noted that those residents still had the right to vote provisionally.[97] On social media, Matarazzo suggested that Democrats commit voter fraud.[98]

The Muscogee County Elections and Registration Board

Uhland Roberts, the former vice-chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, now serves on the Elections and Registrations Board in Muscogee County. He opposed adding Sunday voting in the county in 2014 and wrote on social media that there was a “partisan push” for it.[99] Roberts also voted to reduce the number of precincts in the county from forty-eight to twenty-eight, a plan that was approved despite opposition from residents and the NAACP. Roberts claimed that the board focused on the voters when they approved the plan, saying that it was not “done based on partisan or racial or anything like that.” Another board member who voted against the plan argued that it would oppress minority voters.[100]

The Richmond County Board of Elections

In Richmond County, both Republican-appointed members of the county Board of Elections, Sherry Barnes and David “Chip” Barbee, supported a plan to consolidate precincts that was opposed by the NAACP, disabled voters, and senior citizens.[101] The plan, which the board voted to approve in 2013, consolidated several precincts and eliminated two polling locations at senior citizen complexes. The consolidation plan was met with vocal opposition from disabled and elderly residents. A statement issued by Augusta NAACP’s then-president blasted the proposal as “not in the best interest of voting rights, convenience and respect to [senior citizens’] most constitutional fundamental rights, and that is the power and right to vote,” also noting that the changes would “disproportionately affect as many as 9,000 minority voters.”[102]


Conclusion

Officials at all levels of Georgia’s government have engaged in what amounts to a long-term assault on voting rights. Voter suppression policies—voter ID, proof of citizenship, reducing early voting, and other policies that make voting less accessible—disproportionately affect minorities, senior citizens, the disabled, and low-income voters who should be encouraged to turn out and exercise their constitutional rights to vote.

Despite what some Georgia officials have expressed, voting is a right, not a privilege. These officials are failing all Georgians when they are motivated by partisanship and engage in racially charged rhetoric while serving in roles intended to impartially administer elections and protect voting rights. Voter suppression policies do not simply make it more difficult for Georgians to vote; they also strip constitutional rights from largely minority voters, all for the purpose of partisan, political gain.


End Notes

[1] “History of Voter ID,” National Conference of State Legislatures website, accessed August 7, 2016, http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/voter-id-history.aspx; and Shannon McCaffrey, “Despite Voter ID Law, Minority Turnout up in Georgia,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 3, 2012, http://www.ajc.com/news/news/despite-voter-id-law-minority-turnout-up-in-georgi/nR2bx/.

[2] “Georgia Voter Identification Requirements,” Georgia Secretary of State website, accessed August 7, 2016, http://sos.ga.gov/index.php/elections/georgia_voter_identification_requirements2.

[3] “Georgia Voter Identification Requirements,” Georgia Secretary of State website, accessed August 7, 2016, http://sos.ga.gov/index.php/elections/georgia_voter_identification_requirements2.

[4] Wendy Underhill, “Voter Identification Requirements| Voter ID Laws, Variations in Voter ID Laws,” National Conference of State Legislatures website, accessed August 7, 2016, http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/voter-id.aspx.

[5] Sari Horwitz, “Getting a Photo ID So You Can Vote Is Easy. Unless You’re Poor, Black, Latino or Elderly.” Washington Post, May 23, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/getting-a-photo-id-so-you-can-vote-is-easy-unless-youre-poor-black-latino-or-elderly/2016/05/23/8d5474ec-20f0-11e6-8690-f14ca9de2972_story.html. For full study see, Zoltan Hajnal, Nazita Lajevardi, and Lindsay Nielson, “Voter Identification Laws and the Suppression of Minority Votes,” accessed August 7, 2016, http://pages.ucsd.edu/~zhajnal/page5/documents/voterIDhajnaletal.pdf.

[6] “Despite Voter ID Law, Minority Turnout Up in Georgia,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 3, 2012, http://www.ajc.com/news/news/despite-voter-id-law-minority-turnout-up-in-georgi/nR2bx/.

[7] Horwitz, “Getting a Photo ID.”

[8] “Oppose Voter ID Legislation – Fact Sheet,” American Civil Liberties Union website, accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.aclu.org/oppose-voter-id-legislation-fact-sheet.

[9] Jeremy Redmon, “Georgia Voter Registration Law Partly Blocked,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 20, 2013, http://www.ajc.com/news/news/national-govt-politics/georgia-voter-id-law-blocked/nYP9p/.

[10] Note: Allied Progress is one of the groups that criticized Brian Newby’s decision on requiring proof of citizenship when registering to vote with the federal form.

[11] United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, “League of Women Voters of the United States, et al., v. Brian D. Newby, in his capacity as the Executive Director of the United States Election Assistance Commission,” No. 1:16-cv-00236, September 9, 2016. https://www.cadc.uscourts.gov/internet/opinions.nsf/14C80589DDE01F4F8525802A00009F33/$file/16-5196CHMJ.pdf

[12] Jamelle Bouie, “The Most Brazen Attempt at Voter Suppression Yet,” Slate, October 29, 2014, http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2014/10/al_jazeera_america_s_reveals_massive_gop_voter_suppression_effort_millions.html; and Martha Dalton, “Critics Question Georgia’s Participation in Crosscheck Voter System,” 90.1 FM WABE, November 3, 2014, http://news.wabe.org/post/critics-question-georgias-participation-crosscheck-voter-system.

[13] Jake Armstrong, “ACLU Questions Ban on Voting by Felons,” Augusta (GA) Chronicle, May 3, 2008, http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2008/05/30/met_460457.shtml.

[14] Christopher Uggen, Sarah Shannon, and Jeff Manza, “State-Level Estimates of Felon Disenfranchisement in the United States, 2010,” July 2012, The Sentencing Project website, accessed August 7, 2016, http://sentencingproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/State-Level-Estimates-of-Felon-Disenfranchisement-in-the-United-States-2010.pdf.

[15] Philip Bump, “Virginia governor will allow ex-felons to vote. Here’s what that would mean in each state. Washington Post, April 22, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/05/19/hillary-clinton-wants-to-allow-felons-to-vote-that-could-mean-a-lot-in-a-state-like-florida/.

[16] Jennifer L. Clark and Alexandria Hiatt, “Early Voting Under Attack in Georgia,” February 23, 2015, Brennan Center for Justice website, accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.brennancenter.org/blog/early-voting-under-attack-georgia; and Nate Cohn, “The Big Role of Black Churches in Two Senate Races,” New York Times, October 29, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/30/upshot/data-from-sunday-points-to-black-churches-role-in-mobilizing-voters.html.

[17] “Advanced and Early Voting,” League of Women Voters of Georgia website, accessed August 7, 2016, http://lwvga.org/absenteevoting.html.

[18] “Absentee and Early Voting,” National Conference of State Legislatures Blog, May 26, 2016, http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/absentee-and-early-voting.aspx; Kristina Torres, “More Than 12,600 People Voted Sunday in Georgia,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 27, 2014, http://www.ajc.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/more-than-12600-people-voted-sunday-in-georgia/nhsTF/; and “Georgia Facts and Symbols,” State of Georgia’s website, accessed August 7, 2016, http://georgia.gov/georgia-facts-and-symbols.

[19] Wendy R. Weiser, “Voter Suppression: How Bad? (Pretty Bad),” American Prospect, October 1, 2014, http://prospect.org/article/22-states-wave-new-voting-restrictions-threatens-shift-outcomes-tight-races; and Zachary Roth, “In Voting Rights Win, Bill to Cut Georgia Early Voting Is Dead,” MSNBC, April 6, 2015, http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/voting-rights-win-bill-cut-georgia-early-voting-dead.

[20] Sandra Parrish, “Democrats Call on Governor to Veto Redistricting Bill,” WSB News, May 1, 2015, http://www.wsbradio.com/news/news/democrats-call-governor-veto-redistricting-bill/nk64G/.

[21] Jesse Wegman, “The Partisan Court Blocks Extended Voting in Ohio,” Taking Note (blog), New York Times, September 29, 2014; and Better Georgia YouTube channel, “Full Speech Ga. GOP Sec. of State Says Democrats Will Win Through Minority Voter Registration,” YouTube video, 6:46, posted September 11, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USDQv5PjjQc.

[22] “Kemp Discusses New Election Legislation with Local Officials,” Lincoln(GA) Journal, April 28, 2011, http://m.lincolnjournalonline.com/news/2011-04-28/Front_Page/Kemp_discusses_new_election_legislation_with_local.html#.V7c07ulPhLI.

[23] Bill Rankin, “Citizenship Process Approved,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 5, 2011.

[24] United States EAC website, “Newby Letter to Kemp.”

[25] Daniel Mallory, “Voting Bill; Bill Would Register More Voters,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 31, 2013.

[26] Spencer Woodman, “Register Minority Voters in Georgia, Go to Jail,” New Republic, May 5, 2015, https://newrepublic.com/article/121715/georgia-secretary-state-hammers-minority-voter-registration-efforts; and Creative Loafing Editorial Board, “Secretary of State Should Stop Using the Bogeyman of Voter Registration Fraud,” Creative Loafing: Atlanta 43, no. 23 (Oct. 2-8, 2014): 7.

[27] “Who We Are,” The New Georgia Project website, accessed August 7, 2016, http://newgeorgiaproject.org/about/.

[28] Woodman, “Register Minority Voters, Go to Jail.”

[29] “Brian Kemp Eats Crow,” Waycross (GA) Journal-Herald, Editorial, 10/02/14; and “Voter ‘Fraud’ and Premature Evaluation,” Editorial, Savannah (GA) Morning News, September 18, 2014, http://savannahnow.com/editorial-opinion/2014-09-18/editorial-voter-fraud-and-premature-evaluation.

[30] Woodman, “Register Minority Voters, Go to Jail.”

[31] Bill Rankin, “Voter Registration Act; Georgia Signs off on Suit Settlement,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 20, 2012.

[32] Woodman, “Register Minority Voters, Go to Jail.”

[33] National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, “NAACP Statement on the Quitman 10,” news release, January, 7, 2015, http://www.naacp.org/press/entry/naacp-statement-on-the-quitman-10.

[34] Greg Bluestein and Kristina Torres, “Voting Violation; Election Director Ousted,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 4, 2015.

[35] Common Cause, “Georgia Secretary of State Kemp Notified: Stop Illegally Purging Voter Lists,” news release, November 24, 2015, http://www.commoncause.org/press/press-releases/georgia-voter-list.html.

[36] Kristina Torres, “Suit Alleges That Georgia Is Still Illegally Bumping Voters off Rolls,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 11, 2016, http://www.myajc.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/georgia-secretary-of-state-brian-kemp-sued-over-vo/nqNk6/.

[37] Bluestein and Torres, “Voting Violation,” and http://www.ajc.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/georgia-elections-official-resigns-over-misidentif/nkmSY/

[38] Bouie, “The Most Brazen Attempt.”

[39] Greg Palast, “Jim Crow Returns, Millions of Minority Voters Threatened by Electoral Purge,” Al Jazeera America, October 29, 2014, http://projects.aljazeera.com/2014/double-voters/.

[40] Dalton, “Critics Question Georgia’s Participation.”

[41] Kristina Torres, “Federal lawsuit alleges Georgia blocked thousands of minority voters,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 14, 2016, http://www.myajc.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/federal-lawsuit-alleges-georgia-blocked-thousands-/nsYBc/.

[42] Kristina Torres, “Georgia agrees to add thousands to voter rolls ahead of Nov. election,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 26, 2016, http://www.myajc.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/georgia-agrees-to-add-thousands-to-voter-rolls-ahe/nsfrT/

[43] Chris Joyner and Kristina Torres, “Culture of Expediency Behind Georgia Data Breach,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 27, 2015; and James Salzer, “’Bad Guys’ Don’t Have Data, Kemp Says,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 20, 2016.

[44] Kristina Torres, “Privacy Risk; Georgia to Pay for Voters’ Credit Services,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 4, 2015.

[45] Joyner and Torres, “Culture of Expediency,” and Torres, “Privacy Risk.”

[46] “2011-2012 Regular Session – HB 92, Elections; In-Person Absentee Balloting; Provide Limitations,” Georgia General Assembly website, accessed August 7, 2016, http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/display/32221.

[47] Greg Bluestein, Daniel Malloy, and Jim Galloway, “Fulton, Lowndes Counties Follow DeKalb’s Lead and Schedule Sunday Voting,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 11, 2014, http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2014/09/11/fulton-lowndes-counties-follow-dekalbs-lead-and-schedule-sunday-voting/.

[48] Aaron Gould Sheinin, “An Apology Over ‘Ghetto’ Comment,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 7, 2009; and Ajcjgalloway YouTube channel, “Ghetto Grandmothers,” YouTube video, 1:12, posted October 5, 2009, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4zfxnSKI3Y.

[49] Daniel Malloy, “Democratic Voter Registration Group Hit with Fraud Allegations,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 10, 2014, http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2014/09/09/democratic-voter-registration-group-hit-with-fraud-allegations/.

[50] Hunter Schwarz, “Georgia Senator Upset Over Efforts to Increase Voter Turnout in Black, Democratic Area,” Washington Post, September 10, 2014, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/09/10/georgia-state-senator-upset-over-efforts-to-increase-black-voter-turnout-says-he-wants-more-educated-voters/; and Jesse Wegman, “The Partisan Court Blocks Extended Voting in Ohio,” Taking Note (blog), New York Times, September 24, 2014, http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/29/the-partisan-court-blocks-extended-voting-in-ohio/.

[51] “Quick Facts, DeKalb County, Georgia,” United States Census website, accessed August 7, 2016, http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/13089; and Dar’shun Nicole Kendrick Facebook page, status of July 12, 2016 (8:09 pm) and Fran Millar comments of July 13, 2016 (7:14 am, 1:50 pm, and 2:24 pm), accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/836980614/videos/10157171250360615/.

[52] Fran Millar Facebook page, status of September 16, 2015 (9:48 am) and comments (10:13 am and 10:17 am), accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/millar.ga/posts/884065228307511;  and “Gwinnett Sheriff Issues Scathing Statement: ‘All Lives Matter,’” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 15, 2015, http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/gwinnett-sheriff-issues-scathing-statement-all-liv/nnfjz/.

[53] ”2013-2014 Regular Session – HB 891, Elections; Period for Advance Voting Prior to Municipal Primary or Election; Change,” Georgia General Assembly website, accessed August 7, 2016, http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display/20132014/HB/891; and Zachary Roth, “Georgia Is Site of Latest GOP Attack on Early Voting,” MSNBC, February 5, 2014, http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/georgia-gop-looks-cut-early-voting.

[54] Walter C. Jones, “Women Voters Group Slams Bid to Shorten Early Voting; Smaller Cities Seek Financial Relief, Saying 21-Day Period Is Too Costly,” Florida Times-Union, February 5, 2014; and “Leave Early Voting Alone,” Editorial, Waycross Journal-Herald, March 4, 2015.

[55] Chris Kromm, “Move to Slash Early Voting Defeated in Georgia,” Facing South, March 21, 2014, https://www.facingsouth.org/2014/03/move-to-slash-early-voting-defeated-in-georgia.html.

[56] Amy Leigh Womack, “Legal Arguments Contest Sparta Election, State Investigation Ongoing,” Macon Telegraph, November 21, 2015, http://www.macon.com/news/local/article45831320.html.

[57] Michael Wines, “Critics See Efforts by Counties and Towns to Purge Minority Voters From Rolls,” New York Times, July 31, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/01/us/critics-see-efforts-to-purge-minorities-from-voter-rolls-in-new-elections-rules.html.

[58] “2015-2016 Regular Session – HB 194, Elections; Advance Voting Times and Dates; Revise,” Georgia General Assembly website, accessed August 7, 2016, http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display/20152016/HB/194; Clark and Hiatt, “Early Voting Under Attack;” and “A New Bill Could Reduce Early Voting Days,” WALB News, February 9, 2015, http://www.walb.com/story/28066510/a-new-bill-could-reduce-early-voting-days.

[59] ”2013-2014 Regular Session – HB 891,” Georgia General Assembly website.

[60] “Bill Moves Augusta Election to July,” Augusta (GA) Chronicle, March 28, 2012, http://chronicle.augusta.com/latest-news/2012-03-28/bill-moves-augusta-election-july.

[61] Zachary Roth, “Georgia GOP Dusts Off Jim Crow Tactic: Changing Election Date,” MSNBC, November 22, 2013, http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/gop-revives-jim-crow-tactic.

[62] Military Heroes Initiative, “Assessing Election Administration Processes for Injured Service Members,” March 25, 2012, http://www2.itif.org/2012-mhi-election-admin-injured-service-members.pdf.

[63] David Wickert, “Gwinnett Rejects Call for Spanish Ballots,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 20, 2016, http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/gwinnett-rejects-call-for-spanish-ballots/np7zC/.

[64] Ben Satterfield Facebook page, Alice O’Lenick comments of August 25 (4:07 pm) and August 26, 2015 (8:40 am), accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/ben.satterfield/posts/10153227791868759?comment_id=10153228864628759&comment_tracking=%7b”tn”%3A”R1″%7d.

[65] Alice O’Lenick Facebook page, “Likes,” accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/alice.olenick/likes; We Support Paula Deen Facebook page, accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/WeSupportPaulaDeen/info/?tab=page_info; and  Rachel Tepper, “Paula Deen Racist Comments, Use Of N-Word Allegedly Caught On Video,“ Huffington Post, June 19, 2013, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/19/paula-deen-racist-comments-n-word-caught-on-video_n_3467287.html.

[66] Ben Satterfield Facebook page, status of November 13, 2015 (7:50 pm) and Alice O’Lenick comment of November 14, 2015 (8:53 am), accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/ben.satterfield/posts/10153378233703759.

[67] Ibid., status of October 19, 2014 (9:06 pm), comment of October 20, 2014 (10:27 pm), accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/ben.satterfield/posts/10152529923153759https://www.facebook.com/ben.satterfield/posts/10152529923153759.

[68] Ibid., “Groups,” accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/ben.satterfield/groups?collection_token=578998758%3A2361831622%3A66&next_cursor=MDpub3Rfc3RydWN0dXJlZDo3NDY4NzgzODg2Nzk2NTg=; and Georgia Voter Protection Committee Facebook page, accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/groups/338020086221133/.

[69] Ben Satterfield Facebook page, status of May 9, 2015 (8:44 am), accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/ben.satterfield/posts/10152980800918759.

[70] Ibid., status of November 27, 2015 (8:52 am), accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/ben.satterfield/posts/10153399820948759.

[71] Ibid., status of December 7, 2015 (5:32 am), https://www.facebook.com/ben.satterfield/posts/10153419774533759; and status of April 14, 2016 (6:40 am), https://www.facebook.com/ben.satterfield/posts/10153715718648759.

[72] Joe Kovac, Jr., “Thumbs Down for Sunday Voting at Testy Board Meeting,” Macon (GA) Telegraph, September 25, 2014, http://www.macon.com/news/local/article30145122.html.

[73] 13 WMAZ, 09/25/14

[74] Jeremy Timmerman, “Board of Elections Settles on Thirty-three Precincts” Macon (GA) Telegraph, June 10, 2015, http://www.macon.com/news/politics-government/election/article30238326.html; NBC 41, January 23, 2015 http://www.41nbc.com/2015/01/23/local-democrats-say-no-to-board-of-elections-proposed-voter-precinct-closings/ ; and Bibb County GOP Facebook page, posted photo of Herb Spangler, Treasurer, of March 14, 2015 (10:46 am), accessed August 7, 2016,  https://www.facebook.com/BibbGOP/photos/a.816306021777090.1073741831.727011187373241/816306051777087/?type=1&theater.

[75] Timmerman, “Board of Elections Settles.”

[76] Kovac, Jr., “Thumbs Down.”

[77] Rinda Wilson, letter to the editor, Macon (GA) Telegraph, November 1, 2014, http://www.macon.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article30151758.html.

[78] Ibid.

[79] Rinda Wilson, letter to the editor, Macon (GA) Telegraph, January 13, 2015, http://www.macon.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article30165486.html.

[80] John Swint, “Can Wilson Be Trusted as an Impartial Arbiter and Judge?,” Op-ed, Macon (GA) Telegraph, November 18, 2015, http://www.macon.com/opinion/readers-opinion/article45430773.html.

[81] Bob Hubbard, Sr., letter to the editor, Macon (GA) Telegraph, March 31, 2014.

[82] Rinda Wilson, letter to the editor, Macon (GA) Telegraph, April 8, 2014.

[83] Ibid., December 6, 2014.

[84] Ibid., July 15, 2011.

[85] Aimee Jones, “Local Man Elected to Be Delegate at GOP National Convention,” Henry Herald, May 26, 2016, http://www.henryherald.com/news/local-man-elected-to-be-delegate-at-gop-national-convention/article_925dda96-2efb-5cfc-8b2b-14a5ce6fe525.html.

[86] Debbie Wiest Moon Facebook page, shared photo, February 25, 2016 (8:38 pm), accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/debbie.w.moon/posts/10208114388518130;  Ibid., January 20, 2016 (11:01pm), accessed September 10, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/debbie.w.moon/posts/10207859175737970; and Ibid., January 7, 2016 (7:42 pm), https://www.facebook.com/debbie.w.moon/posts/10207771431024407,

[87] Ibid., status of February 10, 2014 (10:55 am), accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/debbie.w.moon/posts/10202891511549470.

[88] Ibid., status of December 2, 2014 (10:07 am), accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/debbie.w.moon/posts/10204959159919387.

[89] Ibid., shared photo of January 26, 2016 (9:40 pm), accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/debbie.w.moon/posts/10207900234084403.

[90] Ibid., shared photo of July 12, 2016 (5:33 pm), accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/debbie.w.moon/posts/10209328131980958.

[91] Ibid, shared photo of July 20, 2016, (10:13  am), accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/debbie.w.moon/posts/10209396947861312.

[92] Ibid., shared photo of July 10, 2016 (11:36 am), accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/debbie.w.moon/posts/10209310862549233.

[93] David WIckert, “State OKs Fulton Election Settlement,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 14, 2015.

[94] Johnny Edwards, “Clash with GOP May Boost Elections Candidate,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 12, 2013, http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/clash-with-gop-may-boost-elections-candidate/nXnpt/.

[95] Johnny Edwards, “Memo Suggests ‘Disarray’ in Office,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 2, 2013.

[96] Bartlett Naylor, “A Real Accountant,” American Banker, December 15, 1986; and Vineeta Anand, “Time Out,” Syracuse University Magazine 6, no. 2 (December 1992): 18-23.

[97] “Voter Irregularities in Fulton County,” CBS Atlanta, June 14, 2013, http://atlanta.cbslocal.com/2013/06/14/voter-irregularities-in-fulton-county/.

[98] Stan Matarazzo Facebook Post, 10/05/12, https://www.facebook.com/stan.matarazzo/posts/10151303936661719, accessed September 10, 2016.

[99] Columbus(GA) Ledger-Enquirer, 10/02/14, http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/local/article29350384.html  and Uhland Drane Roberts Facebook page, status of September 30, 2014 (5:39 pm), accessed August 7, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/uhland.roberts/posts/10152516642834807.

[100] “Elections Board votes 3-1 to reduce precincts; Move will lower costs, free up more voting machines,” Columbus(GA) Ledger-Enquirer, March 5, 2010.

[101] “Request on Voting Precincts Rejected,” Augusta Chronicle, December 10, 2013.

[102] Susan McCord, “Elections Board Moves Ahead with Polling Place Closures,” Augusta Chronicle, November 19, 2013, http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/government/2013-11-18/elections-board-moves-ahead-polling-place-closures.

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