When civil rights groups learned that a county elections board planned to relocate the polling station for a predominately Black precinct in Macon, Georgia, to a local sheriff’s office, they warned election officials that the move would unfairly discourage turnout. The officials didn’t budge at first.
Allegations of police brutality and the 2012 police killing of an unarmed Black manhave raised tensions in this southern community. Nse Ufot, executive director of the non-partisan New Georgia Project, said that requiring voters of color to show up at the county jailer’s office, where they would be under camera surveillance and potentially subject to search, would “have a chilling effect at best.”
“They didn’t give [public] notice … everything about this move was out of order,” Ufot told Truthout.
Ufot said the election board initially ignored requests to cancel the move, so members of the local NAACP chapter and other groups picked up their clipboards, enlisted volunteers from a local college and started knocking on doors, gathering signatures for a petition opposing the move.