Thursday, September 18, 2014

Georgia Teamsters fight against voter suppression

Georgia's secretary of state has a new way to enforce Jim Crow voting laws: He just doesn't process tens of thousands of voter registration forms. And then he tries to intimidate a nonpartisan group registering new Georgia voters.

At a press conference in Georgia's state capital yesterday, leaders of the New Georgia Project called on the secretary of state to put registrants on the voter rolls. Our brothers and sisters from Teamsters Local 728 were among the civil rights and religious leaders who attended the event.

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa, a strong opponent of voter suppression, issued a statement:
We are supposed to be a nation of one person and one vote. But how can that be when citizens trying to exercise their right to vote are being disenfranchised? The state of Georgia is engaging in voter suppression, plain and simple. No matter one’s political affiliation, that is not right and cannot be tolerated. I call on Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp to do his job and process all valid applications so the people’s voice can be heard.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported
The New Georgia Project brought bins holding copies of more than 51,000 unprocessed voter applications to the state Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Secretary of State Brian Kemp has put the group under investigation for alleged voter registration fraud, but group leaders said it was a “witch hunt” to intimidate their efforts...
With the state’s Oct. 6 registration deadline quickly approaching, state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta,and more than a dozen civil rights and religious leaders who support the New Georgia Project called on Kemp —the state’s top elections official — to focus on ensuring ballot access to thousands of new voters they and others have signed up this election year. 
Speaking at the state Capitol ahead of the 3 p.m. special meeting of the Georgia Election Board, the leaders stood before 13 plastic bins filled with copies of applications they said have not been processed despite being turned in, in some cases, months ago. 
“You don’t have to wear a hood or be a member of the Ku Klux Klan to be engaged in voter suppression,” said the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. “Mr. Secretary of State, stop this dog and pony show, all these accusations and fear campaigning, and do the job you were [elected] to do.”