Prime Only Members-Only Article

Weekly Primer: A Proposal That Would Have Suppressed The Vote In Georgia Fails

Voting rights primer
August 27, 2018 12:07 p.m.

After national scrutiny and threats of lawsuits, the elections board overseeing the polling practices of a majority black county in Georgia stepped back from its plans to close seven out of nine voting sites in the county. The Randolph County Board of Elections, at a meeting that took about 60 seconds on Friday, voted down the proposal to close the polling places. The vote came after the decision earlier in the week to fire the consultant, a supporter of Georgia Republican secretary of state and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, who made the recommendation.

The move to close the polling places — albeit unsuccessful — brought to light what appears to be an emerging trend under the Trump administration: using the Americans with Disabilities Act as a pretext for closing election sites in counties with large minority populations. That excuse was part of the Randolph County proposal and, to wit, a Huffington Post public records request seeking documents pertaining to any ADA issues in the county revealed that no such materials existed, even though these supposed issues were the justification for the proposal.

The lawsuits against the Trump administration for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, which civil rights groups fear will discourage immigrant community participation on the survey and depress their political power, are chugging along. There are now four cases where a federal judge has ruled against the DOJ’s request to throw the cases out, meaning for now they will advance. There is a fifth case, in Maryland, in which the judge is still considering a motion to dismiss.

The challengers in one of the New York lawsuits against the question, meanwhile, have asked that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and civil rights division head John Gore be added to that case.

In North Carolina, a showdown between the GOP legislature and the Democratic governor over lawmakers’ proposed ballot initiatives seeking to strip Gov. Roy Cooper of some of his appointment powers prompted a court decision in the governor’s favor Tuesday. The court blocked the two ballot measures after finding that their wording was too misleading.

The Justice Department unveiled charges Friday against 19 people who allegedly voted as noncitizens in North Carolina. Nine of those 19 people also face charges that they falsified American citizenship to get on the voter rolls.

The White House, it was revealed last week, opposed a bipartisan election security bill, drafted as Congress investigates Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, that has stalled despite having the support of key senators of both parties.

Claims that the Democratic National Committee’s voter file had been targeted by a spearphishing attack turned out to be a false alarm. The phishing attempt was in fact a security test conducted at the behest of the Michigan state Democratic party, the DNC announced Wednesday night.

Prime Only Members-Only Article
To access more exclusive analysis and reporting from TPM’s award-winning staff along with:
The Hive Member Forum
Members-Only Newsletter
Exclusive RSS Feeds
View All Options
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: