An ACLU lawsuit resolved, protecting three polling places in predominantly Black parts of Fulton County from closure. Meanwhile, reversals on voting rights issues within the Department of Justice are spurring democratic state legislators to improve Georgia’s voting laws.
Last month, the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections gave only a few days notice before deciding to close three polling places in Fulton County. However, state law requires two weeks of notice to allow for public comment.
The ACLU of Georgia sued, arguing that the Board needed to uphold the public comment period. They also noted that all three closures were slated for polling locations that served predominantly Black neighborhoods.
ACLU Executive Director Andrea Young praised the outcome.
“This victory means thousands of Black registered voters will be able to go to their polling place and cast a ballot in this year’s important mayoral election – without the confusion and disruption that the closures would have caused,” Young said in a press release.
Voting rights issues are getting plenty of attention nationally as well. There’s been the Election Integrity Commission created by Trump to go on a fishing expedition for fraudulent voting. The courts and the Department of Justice, or DOJ, also have a lot of influence over voting rights issues. For instance, in a change of tack, the DOJ is now siding with Ohio over policies to purge inactive voters.
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, newly elected House Minority Leader Bob Trammel wants to see the caucus champion improvements to state laws.
“We should strive for laws that seek to encourage participation, not disqualify people based simply on their failure to vote within three years. We should be suspect any time the government imposes burdens on an individual’s right to vote,” Trammel said.
Current state law allows voters to be purged if they do not vote or update their voter registration status over a three year period. Some legal experts argue that not voting is protected by the U.S. laws and should not be a reason to remove someone from the voter rolls.
The courts are also dealing with challenges to partisan gerrymandering practices in several states. Both gerrymandering and voter purge practices are expected to ultimately go before the Supreme Court.
There are several municipal elections around the state this year, and next year’s midterms will reshape Congress, impacting the Trump administration’s effectiveness. Restrictions on voting rights and access to the ballot box over the next year could have major implications for local and national politics.