Georgia County to Vote on Closing Polling Stations

Care to guess the demographic makeup of the county?

Via WaPo:  Georgia voting rights activists move to block a plan to close two-thirds of polling places in a majority black county.

Voting rights activists in Georgia say they will launch a petition drive in an effort to collect enough signatures of registered voters to block a proposal to close more than two-thirds of polling precincts in a predominantly black county ahead of this fall’s general election.

The plan to shutter the voting sites in Randolph County, a rural community about 2½ hours south of Atlanta, has drawn dozens of local residents and progressive groups to two public hearings in recent days. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a formal protest with the county’s board of elections.

Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state, which oversees elections operations throughout the state, has issued a statement urging Randolph County officials to “abandon this effort.” Kemp also is the Republican nominee in one of the country’s most-watched gubernatorial contests. The Democratic nominee, Stacey Abrams, a former state legislator, is seeking to become the nation’s first black female governor.

The two-member county election board – a third member stepped down recently – has scheduled a vote for Friday on the proposal to shutter seven of the county’s nine polling places, citing problems including facilities in disrepair or inaccessible to people with disabilities. But some activists are suspicious of the board’s motives, noting that Randolph County is more than 55 percent black and many residents have low incomes. The county, which covers 431 square miles, has no public transportation system.

All nine of the polling places were used for the May primaries and less than a month ago for statewide runoffs, in which Kemp, helped by an endorsement from President Trump, beat Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle for the GOP nomination.

While certainly compliance with the ADA is a legitimate goal, the reality is this is not the kind of remedy one deploys in the middle (between primary and general) of the elections process.  Further, if one takes the ADA claims as serious, there have to be temporary solutions that could be deployed.

Beyond that, we are talking here about an action, even if made in good faith, that will deny citizens access to a basic right and creates a clear problem for a specific segment of the population:

“You don’t solve problems of accessibility for people with disabilities by reducing access for people without disabilities,” said Andrea Young, executive director of the Georgia ACLU, which wrote a letter to the board stating that the closures would be a violation of the Voting Rights Act because it would have a negative effect on African American voters. The group noted that African Americans make up more than 96 percent of the voters at one of the polling places slated for closure.

Emphasis mine.

Georgia is going to have a very close contest for governor this November, and as recent special election and primary results have shown, every vote may matter.  And regardless of one’s preferred outcome in the race, every vote should be valued.

I cannot find any specific information on the members Randolph County Elections Board. Even in various local news stories that I found (for example: here and here) they are not specifically identified and the various print stories do not mention demographic or partisan information (which strikes me as poor reporting).  The Randolph County website is not much help, either.

The following is noteworthy (from HuffPo piece):

Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, said the proposed changes in Randolph County showed the significance of the Supreme Court’s decision to get rid of the preclearance formula.

“Had the Supreme Court not killed the Voting Rights Act, then the county would not have been able to make these changes without demonstrating to the Justice Department or a three-judge court that the changes would not make minority voters worse off,” he wrote in an email. “The Chief Justice assured us that things have changed in the South, but apparently they haven’t changed enough.”

Even if one thinks that all of these kinds of action (to include voter ID laws, purging of voter rolls, and the like) are all done from the purest of motives, one cannot in good faith not note that they affect poor minorities in disproportionate ways.   And, above all else, degrade a fundamental right of citizenship. This should not be acceptable. The example of Randolph County suggests that SCOTUS was wrong to unshackle localities from compliance with the VRA.

I suspect some will look at this story and think it amusing that the ADA is causing the problem and want to be snarky about how this is an example of regulations causing a problem for libs.  First, as noted above, complying with the ADA is the correct thing to do, but the solution is not to close polling stations. Second, in the balancing of values in the short term, i,e., ADA compliance v. ballot access, one has to go with ballot access in the short terms with a longer-term eye towards ADA compliance in the next elections.  Third, if one is going to be snarky about this, please explain what value you are upholding by wishing for citizens to not have access to voting.

We, as a country, need to take a hard look at ourselves in terms of whether we really value “government of, by, and for the people” or not.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2018, Race and Politics, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    Republicans believe in democracy and do all they can to stop people they don’t like from voting.
    Just like they believe Trump is totally innocent but will uncontrollably commit perjury if interviewed.

    I have long maintained that for most people ‘belief’ is aspirational. IOW, they don’t actually believe in heaven, for example, but they want it to be true. When I was young and naive I thought when people said they believed in something, they actually did. Silly Michael. People don’t so much have beliefs – that’s way too demanding and ‘left brained’ – they have emotions, prejudices, needs, grudges and use ‘belief’ as a rationalization for their own baser desires. ‘Belief’ is a flag they wave, a show, not real.

    At its core it’s all about religion. Religion is the intellectual virus that subverts the brain’s capacity for reason. Religion grooms people, trains them to deliberately ignore reality, much as priests groom altar boys. It’s not a ‘lie’ it’s ‘faith.’ It’s not ‘rape’ it’s ‘devotion.’ War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength. And there’s a sky fairy who wants me to be mean to gays and immigrants. He told me so. That’s my ‘belief.’

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  2. An Interested Party says:

    The return of Jim Crow…to think of all the time and effort and lives that were lost or injured to bring the whole country into the 20th century…only to have these scheming, cheating assholes, who are so scared of losing legitimate elections, try to make it very difficult for some to people to vote, a right that people in the past died to ensure…Republicans are completely disgusting and totally un-American (well, the spirit of what America should be rather than what it often is) in their insidious actions…

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  3. Blue Galangal says:

    They seem to be following the TRAP approach in this, e.g., requiring first-term pill-dispensing centers to meet ambulatory surgery center guidelines under the guise of “making women safer.” Clearly the solution to lack of ADA compliance is to shut down those voting locations that are not in compliance rather than move the locations or fund them to be in compliance. They are making voting safer for people with disabilities, anyone can see that.

  4. mattbernius says:

    It would be interesting to see an ADA inventory of all polling sites across Georgia. That would go a long way to negating the arguement that this is politcally motivated.

    Still, regardless of what such an inventory would show, the fact remains that this is being done to overwhelmingly African American polling sites in a year where an African American woman is running a competitive race for governor. The political optics of that alone should have prevented this from happening this year.

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  5. Gustopher says:

    @mattbernius:

    The political optics of that alone should have prevented this from happening this year.

    How many voter suppression efforts will go unnoticed while everyone is focused on this?

    This will be reversed, in all likelihood, while they are removing people from voting rolls elsewhere as aggressively as they can. Do we know how many polling places are being closed around the entire state? We’re all too focused on the big shiny offensive thing.

    And how can we not? Forcing them to roll this back is important. But they can be more evil more quickly than we can respond, and that’s the goal.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I have long had the fantasy of walking into my local (99.99999% white) polling station with a bottle of lighter fluid, or heading into STL and walking into a Ladue or Clayton voting station with a bottle of lighter fluid and spraying it down into the machine and tossing a match. Then turn around and ask, “How do you like being denied your vote?”

    It would of course be an all but futile gesture as I am quite sure all my all white neighbors would get a second opportunity to vote (something my black inner city brethren never get after standing in line for 6 hours and then deciding they have children who need to be fed never get) and I would go to prison.

    Instead, I send a little more money to the ACLU.

  7. James Pearce says:

    I guess we all see what we want to see when we read a story like this, and it may be difficult if not impossible to see this as anything other than racist voter suppression, rather than the end result of a whole bunch of other issues.

    Randolph County is “a rural community about 2½ hours south of Atlanta” in an urban country that doesn’t care about or invest in rural communities. Our answer: “Move out of the sticks, fellas.” Of course, 7 out of 9 polling places are in “disrepair” or non-ADA compliant.

    Let’s talk demographics, then. Randolph County is indeed predominantly black. According to one source I found, the county has 7719 people in it and 4769 of them are black, an actual “minority”-majority polity. Might some of the county officials also be black?

    Which leads us to this:

    I cannot find any specific information on the members Randolph County Elections Board.

    Well, I was able to find this on their website: “The Board of Elections consists of three members appointed for four-year terms by the Rndolph County Board of Commissioners.” (The spelling error was copied from the site.)

    While the three members of the elections board aren’t identified, the site does list the people on the Board of Commissioners. A quick search on Facebook led me to a photo that clearly identifies the Chairman, Steve Jackson, and the Vice Chairman, Wesley Williams, as black men.

    Black men who, apparently, are engaged in a racist voter suppression effort. And for what? In a state with 10 million people, are the 5000 black votes in Randolph County really worth suppressing?

    Maybe this really is a matter of infrastructure rather than racism?

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  8. @James Pearce:

    A quick search on Facebook led me to a photo that clearly identifies the Chairman, Steve Jackson, and the Vice Chairman, Wesley Williams, as black men.

    But that information does not tell you who is on the Elections Board, nor the process of appointment, nor much of anything else.

    In a state with 10 million people, are the 5000 black votes in Randolph County really worth suppressing?

    You haven’t really paid attention to the history of voter suppression in this country, have you?

    Maybe this really is a matter of infrastructure rather than racism?

    Then address the infrastructure issue. And address it either in a way that creates a temporary fix for the election, and/or that creates a longer-term fix to the polling places. They were just used for the primary–the notion that they cannot be used (or alternates found) for the general is problematic.

    The solution simply cannot be: close seven of nine polling locations.

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  9. MarkedMan says:

    @James Pearce: Imagine my surprise that you are arguing that Republicans closing polls in black areas is legitimate and we are obligated to take the racist Republican Party at their word.

    And what about her emails?

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  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Yeah, the already thin veneer on Pearce’s alleged non-partisanship is worn down to translucence.

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  11. Tyrell says:

    Perhaps the answer is in more technology to speed up the process. I now use my cell phone apps to enter movies, sports events, and theme parks. Perhaps that is one idea.
    I recall a few years ago waiting in line about two hours outside on a cold, cloudy day, with no restrooms. There was a group selling coffee and snacks, as this was voting at church facility. That is another idea for people who want to help out: set up a food tent.
    I won’t complain about waiting in line to vote, considering the times I waited in long lines to ride a roller coaster, buy tickets, or the Christmas shopping deal.

  12. @James Pearce: One more thing: motive doesn’t matter if the net result is making it substantially harder for people to vote.

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  13. @MarkedMan: In the name of accuracy, I should note that we due to the lack of info on the members of the Board, we do not have partisan information to assign.

  14. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: When I referred to “Racist Republicans” I wasn’t assuming that the election board members were Republican, but rather just alluding to the overall makeup of the modern Party.

    As for me, I’m done with refuting every piece of BS the Republicans and their enablers trot out. It is always possible to come up with yet another piece of outlandish BS to justify their malfeasance and immorality. “Why are you in bed with my wife?!” “Sleepwalking!” “I thought this was my house and my bed!” “I was picked up by a Sharknado and dropped here!”

    When all the evidence points to bad faith, then the burden of proof shifts from the accuser to the accused. This isn’t a court of law*. This is about whether these people should be entrusted with the positions they have.

    *BTW, one way a court of law differs from reality is that once you’ve made all your defenses a verdict is rendered. You don’t get to go back and try different defenses.

  15. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: The only surprise in Pearce’s inevitable pro-Republican/Trump position is that he didn’t trot out his usual “We, as fellow liberals, should ignore this because it is just a distraction and there are more important (yet always unnamed) ways we should champion our cause.” Closely followed by “We, as liberals, should ignore this because we are just playing into Trump’s master plan!”

    My favorite Pearce moment was a month or so ago when a few of the regulars here had started to call BS and he trotted out a “lurker” sock puppet that basically said “I have read this comment section for a long time but never participated before but I think Pearce makes a lot of sense and no one should say mean things about him.” I was half expecting it to conclude with “Going after Pearce only plays into Trump’s master plan!”

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  16. Tyrell says:

    While we are talking here about shenanigans way down in Georgia*, let’s not forget the legendary Chicago political machine that has used these voting techniques: “Vote early and often”, “The dead man walking voter”, “The time machine strategy (set the clocks ahead or back)”, “Cup trick” using the ballot boxes! Many have not forgotten the 1960 election gambit.
    *Is that near Macon County? “Macon County Line” – Max Baer Jr.’s greatest role.

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  17. @Tyrell: So, let’s not forget voting problems from half a century+ ago? Okay, let’s not.

    And the relevance for now would be?

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  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “Max Baer Jr.’s greatest role.”

    Not a very high bar to jump, but an earthworm would probably not be able to limbo under it.

    And BTW, thanks for the wattabout.

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  19. Monala says:

    @Tyrell: 7719 people in the county. Assume half are eligible to vote, so about 3860. With 9 polling places, that’s 429 people per polling place, or 36 people per hour per polling place if the polls are open for 12 hours. (Yes, i know, all of them probably aren’t registered, and all those registered won’t vote, but I am looking at the maximum each polling place should be able to accommodate).

    Now reduce the number of polling places to 2. Now each polling place needs to accommodate up to 1930 people, or 161 people per hour. Do you even think that’s possible, no matter how long people are willing to wait in line?

  20. KM says:

    @James Pearce:
    ADA is almost 30 years old. If they are still out of compliance several Presidents later to the point it requires closing the sites – not permanently mind you but just for *this* instance in time – then the solution is simple. Immediately freeze the personal assets of the asshats who’ve allowed this to happen (private, public and government) and use the money to rent out some trailers for temporary voting sites near the same locations to maintain access. After all, it’s freaking crime to not have a building be ADA-compliant bad enough to warrant closure, let along one for so long. No, being rural isn’t an excuse – that’s what government grants are for. Send the owners and officials who let it slide to jail and the fines levied (with 30yr of interest) should pay for the vote to continue smoothly. No taxpayers or voters need to be harmed in this – only the guilty.

  21. MarkedMan says:

    @KM: You remind me of what I call the Right Wing Talk Radio test. Many years ago I used to drive a lot for business in the South and inevitably I ended up listening to AM Talk Radio. There was a particular RW radio host that went off on the then new ADA and one of his frequent examples was that a particular local company had shut off their drinking fountains because they were at the wrong height for ADA compliance and it would cost too much to lower them. A guy called in and identified himself as a building inspector and he said that it was a well publicized solution for such cases that you buy a $2 Dixie cup dispenser and put it on the wall at wheel chair height. Problem solved. The host seemed a bit taken aback and the steam seemed to go out of him. But the next day I was condemned to listen to the same show on the way back and the host was pitching the identical complaint as he had originally! He had just completely erased the call from the inspector.

    That’s the RWTR test. You know you are listening to a Right Winger when they don’t even bother to change their story when facts get in the way – they just erase the facts. And their audience is happy to go along.

  22. Tyrell says:

    @MarkedMan: I heard a similar story that made the rounds about a recreation park was shut down because a bathroom mirror was one inch too high according to the ADA regulations. There have been a lot of those ADA horror tales going around.

  23. Paine says:

    Surprised people aren’t phoning in anonymous threats to blow up a “white” voting location for every “black” one that is shut down…

  24. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Tyrell:

    shut down because a bathroom mirror was one inch too high

    Damnit, Tyrell, yet another example that either shows you have absolutely no bullsh!t detector whatsoever, or you are an insanely good troll artist–a master for the ages.

    One of these days we’ll know for sure. You may be good, but you’ll slip up eventually.

  25. MarkedMan says:

    @Neil Hudelson: I kinda suspect that we may not have as many Trolls (in the original sense of Troll – someone who posts just to get a reaction and really doesn’t care either way about the opinions therein) than it appears. There are a few that are of such a high quality I have to wonder if they are not just different sock puppets for the same originator.

  26. mattbernius says:

    If it’s accurate, Slate’s reporting on this is particularly damning, as it is an associate of one of the two candidates for Governor who has been pushing for these closures:

    It should come as no surprise, then, that [Govenatorial Candidate and current Georiga Secretary of State Brian] Kemp seems to have played a major role in the Randolph County poll closures. At the meeting on Thursday night, the election board revealed that the move had been encouraged by Mike Malone, an associate of Kemp’s. Malone, who attended the meeting, explained that Kemp—who now claims that the poll closures are a bad idea—had asked him to go around the state and “recommend polling place closures” to various counties. Ten Georgia counties have already taken Malone’s suggestions and closed polling places. All of those counties have large black populations.

    Malone has claimed that he chose which polls to close by gauging their compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Rather than target certain communities, he merely advised election boards to shutter polling places that are not ADA compliant. Notably, many of these locations are government buildings that should already comply with ADA regulations. (Several polling places selected for closure in Randolph County, for instance, are fire stations.) But rather than direct counties to fix whatever ADA problems they might have, Malone simply suggested these locations be scrapped.

    source: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/08/georgia-voter-suppression-brian-kemps-bid-for-governor-depends-on-erasing-the-black-vote-its-working.html

  27. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Then address the infrastructure issue.

    Who brought up the infrastructure issue? Was it the conspiracy theorists more interested in calling people “deplorable” than they are in the infrastructure issues afflicting the AA community living in the Deep South?

  28. @James Pearce: Spell out your point (which, if I read it correctly, elides almost all of what I said).

  29. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Spell out your point

    My point, there’s more to this than “racist Republicans are suppressing the vote.”

    Form the Albany Herald:

    “There is no doubt that some of the polling stations are not ADA compliant,” Randolph County Attorney Tommy Coleman said. “Some of these precincts have fewer than 100 registered voters. Many people at these precincts vote early or by absentee ballot.”

    Republican candidate for gov, Brian Kemp says:

    “Although state law gives localities broad authority in setting precinct boundaries and polling locations, we strongly urged local officials to abandon this effort and focus on preparing for a secure, accessible and fair election for voters this November,” Kemp said.

    Where are the racist Republicans? Where is the voter suppression?

  30. @James Pearce: Closing polling stations, by definition, suppresses voting opportunities. That is a rather unavoidable fact.

    I would recommend the Slate piece Matt posted above as well as this piece from Monday: Kemp’s critics question his ties to proposed poll closures in Randolph County.

    From the piece I linked:

    The consultant, Mike Malone, presented a slide to county residents at two “courtesy” meetings last week addressing the changes that included these lines he read aloud about the plan to reduce polling sites:

    Consolidation has come highly recommended by the Secretary of State and is already being adopted by several counties and is being seriously considered and being worked on by many more.

    “The trend in Georgia and other states is to reduce polling places to reduce election costs and this is being accomplished by consolidating polling places into more combined vote centers.”

    So, a consultant linked directly to the SoS’s office (and the SoS is the Republican nominee for Governor) is seeking to “consolidate” polling stations (i.e., reduce access to voting in rural, poor, and African-American precincts). This strikes me as a major problem.

    According to the Slate piece this has happened in 10 counties across the state.

    But feel free to hand-wave it all away.

    I am sure that in what is likely to be a very close race that making it more difficult for voters to vote in some locations won’t matter at all. And it certainly does not fit, in the least, a broader pattern of making it more difficult for poorer voters, who tend to be of darker hue, from participating.

  31. And to return to my basic point: if this is purely infrastructural, then fix the infrastructure or provide an alternative.

  32. But even if it is purely infrastructural, why are they addressing it now? Why not at the start of calendar 2019 so that everything can be fixed for the next election cycle? These are not the kinds of changes one should make less than 3 months before a general election.

  33. Ah yes, it is all about infrastructure:

    HuffPost requested records from the county dating back to March 1, 2018. The county hired Michael Malone, an outside elections consultant now pushing for the closures, on April 2. But according to the county, it has no written record of evidence to back his recommendations.

    “There is no document, report or analysis studying the handicap accessibility of polling places in Randolph County and the cost of fixing them within the time frame specified in your open records request,” Hayden Hooks, an attorney with the firm Perry & Walters, which represents Randolph County, wrote in an email. The county has no record of such a document in the past year, Hooks added.

  34. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Closing polling stations, by definition, suppresses voting opportunities.

    Not for absentee voters.

    But even if it is purely infrastructural, why are they addressing it now?

    Is there a better time?

    So, a consultant linked directly to the SoS’s office (and the SoS is the Republican nominee for Governor) is seeking to “consolidate” polling stations (i.e., reduce access to voting in rural, poor, and African-American precincts).

    Abandon the conspiratorial mindset and it no longer becomes so suspicious that the SoS hired an election consultant who recommended consolidation as a cost-savings measure.

    According to the Slate piece this has happened in 10 counties across the state.

    It’s still a proposal for Randolph County, but it’s actually happened in 10 other unnamed counties? How many white votes are being suppressed too?

  35. @James Pearce: I can only reach the conclusion that evidence is irrelevant in this discussion to you (as are several of my direct responses to your objections).

  36. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: From your link:

    Randolph County’s justification for closing the polling places is especially striking because the county entered into a three-year settlement agreement with the Justice Department in 2012 to update facilities, including polling locations, to ensure they were compliant with the ADA.

    You ask me why now? Why not back in 2012 when the county entered into “a three-year settlement agreement with the Justice Department?”

  37. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I can only reach the conclusion that evidence is irrelevant in this discussion to you

    I’m seeing a lot of accusations, a lot of “guilt by association,” but evidence? Haven’t seen any of that yet.

    Sorry.

  38. @James Pearce: All well and good. It does seem that on this general topic you tend to err on the side of skepticism of racial intent. Worse, however, is that you seem to ignore the racial impact (or severely downplay it).

    One of the things about racism and racist outcomes is that they are typically subtle and frequently come with some veneer of plausible deniability.

  39. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    It does seem that on this general topic you tend to err on the side of skepticism of racial intent.

    I err on the side of skepticism quite a bit. It’s a Carl Sagan thing, an error-mitigation thing.

    And I don’t think I’m “ignoring” the racial impact. If anything, I don’t think there’s going to be much of a racial impact anyway. Looking at Randolph County, at how its population is very black and concentrated in the towns of Cuthbert and Shellman, and I don’t think it’s so scandalous that they’ve reduced the polling places to two. That might be the right size, and might actually be better for the (predominantly black) community. How sure are you that the old, shuttered polling place wasn’t meant for Buck Chuck and his four cousin-wives? (Just saying.)

    At any rate, the outcry pretty much means this plan is shelved. Is that a win for racial justice? I don’t know. Doesn’t seem like it. Just seems like a win for the status quo, to be honest.

  40. @James Pearce: Ok, I will be less subtle and simply state that in these types of conversations on the topic of race you come across as being dismissive.

  41. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: And yet it seems a denial would only reinforce that impression.

    I may be insignificantly progressive, and I may be tone deaf and I may even be overly defensive, but I’m no apologist for racism.

  42. @James Pearce: I think, at a minimum, you make the same mistake that a lot of people make on this topic. You want ironclad evidence of the type that doesn’t exist. You want Malone to stand up in the meeting and say “I am closing polling places to stop black folks from voting.” It rarely works that way.

    Further, I think you ignore the fact that the structural conditions can be racist. You are willing to accept that the ADA excuse is legit without considering, too, that where are their likely to be non-compliant polling places? Poor, black counties, perhaps? And why is that?

    You want to say that some of what I have said is inference? I agree. But you are actively trying to find every excuse not to see the inferences. (And you do reject some pretty direct evidence).

    Again: read the Slate piece and the MyAJC piece I linked and then consider it all in the broader movement about voting in the US and tell me that this really just about ADA.

  43. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    You want Malone to stand up in the meeting and say “I am closing polling places to stop black folks from voting.”

    To the contrary, I’d like to see Democrats care about places like Cuthbert and Shellman year round, and not just during election season.

    Once the votes are counted, Randolph County is going back on the pay no mind list. You want to talk about the structural conditions but the emphasis is entirely on electoral politics. The ADA stuff should be an excuse, but did you forget about the settlement agreement with Eric Holder’s DOJ?

  44. @James Pearce:

    To the contrary, I’d like to see Democrats care about places like Cuthbert and Shellman year round, and not just during election season.

    This is a way to avoid to issue at hand.

  45. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: The more I read about this, the more I think the racism angle is also a way to avoid the issue at hand.

    Mike Malone was fired, by the way.

    After reading that latest article, I’m starting to think the real issue here is that Randolph County’s election board is just blindingly incompetent. Georgia Elections Director Chris Harvey had some choice words for the chairman:

    “You have created a national media spectacle by seeking to make major changes right before an election and failing to act in a decisive manner that is responsive to the demands of voters in Randolph County.”

    That’s the only part of the e-mail he wrote that’s quoted. Maybe there’s some stuff about vote suppression in there too.