Say Her Name - Breonna Taylor
- Apr 18, 2013
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
The state's voter rolls have grown by nearly 2 million since the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, but polling locations have been cut by almost 10%.
Almost all of the states that are purging voter rolls, closing voting locations, and aggressively reducing mail-in voting drop-boxes are the states with Republican legislatures.10/17/20
The clogged polling locations in metro Atlanta reflect an underlying pattern: the number of places to vote has shrunk statewide, with little recourse. Although the reduction in polling places has taken place across racial lines, it has primarily caused long lines in nonwhite neighborhoods where voter registration has surged and more residents cast ballots in person on Election Day. The pruning of polling places started long before the pandemic, which has discouraged people from voting in person. In Georgia, considered a battleground state for control of the White House and U.S. Senate, the difficulty of voting in Black communities like Union City could possibly tip the results on Nov. 3. With massive turnout expected, lines could be even longer than they were for the primary, despite a rise in mail-in voting and Georgians already turning out by the hundreds of thousands to cast ballots early. Since the U.S. Supreme Court's Shelby v. Holder decision in 2013 eliminated key federal oversight of election decisions in states with histories of discrimination, Georgia's voter rolls have grown by nearly 2 million people, yet polling locations have been cut statewide by nearly 10%, according to an analysis of state and local records by and ProPublica. Much of the growth has been fueled by younger, nonwhite voters, especially in nine metro Atlanta counties, where four out of five new voters were nonwhite, according to the Georgia secretary of state's office.
The metro Atlanta area has been hit particularly hard. The nine counties — Fulton, Gwinnett, Forsyth, DeKalb, Cobb, Hall, Cherokee, Henry and Clayton — have nearly half of the state's active voters but only 38% of the polling places, according to the analysis. As a result, the average number of voters packed into each polling location in those counties grew by nearly 40%, from about 2,600 in 2012 to more than 3,600 per polling place as of Oct. 9, the analysis shows. the lines to vote have been longer in Black areas, because Black voters are more likely than whites to cast their ballots in person on Election Day and are more reluctant to vote by mail, according to U.S. census data and recent studies. Republican Brad Raffensperger, who took over as secretary of state in January 2019, has called for more resources and polling places, but he has been unable to push these changes through the GOP-controlled legislature. Georgia's history of voting violations stretches back more than a century, with poll taxes, literacy and citizenship tests, and intimidation that disenfranchised many Black citizens. Since the Shelby decision, the Georgia State Election Board, chaired by Raffensperger, has been the primary body for investigating and potentially sanctioning counties found to have violated election laws and procedures. But the election board has rarely investigated the sort of violations that the U.S. Department of Justice once stepped in to review under the Voting Rights Act.
One huge benefit of flipping the US Senate will be the ability of a Democrat controlled Congress to amend the Voting Rights Act so that none of the federal oversight provisions are unconstitutional.