Voter suppression is a long-practiced strategy of the Republicans to win the elections by unfair means. The same is the case in Georgia runoff elections, as Georgia voter suppression is peaking as the Senate runoffs come near.
This Republican strategy revolves around stopping the people on election day, disenfranchisement of the Black voters, and speaking ill of the mail-in and early voting. This threat to democracy often comes from the podiums of the Republican leaders who never hesitate to threaten the US Constitution’s long-established practices.
As the Senate gets more importance than ever today, both parties leave no stone unturned to gain control of the Senate. However, it must be noted that these practices are coming by unfair means from the Republican circles, as Georgia voter suppression is touching new heights.
Georgia is ready to choose its pair of Senators on January 5. David Perdue will face Jon Ossoff, and Raphael Warnock will face Kelly Loeffler in the Senate runoffs.
As Biden becomes the first Democrat to win Georgia since 1992, Republicans are greatly worried that they can also lose the Senate races, leaving their deep red state vulnerable to blue votes.
How are Republicans playing dirty tactics to win the election? What did they do in the past in their Georgia voter suppression strategy? Let’s have a look.
A Fraud of 300,000 Wrongly Purged Votes: Republicans Voter Suppression at its Best:
Georgia voter suppression is not a new thing in US politics, as Republicans have controlled Georgia’s voting apparatus for a long time. According to a Georgia American Civil Liberties Union States report, many times, low-income voter groups and minority groups were denied the right to vote in Georgia.
In Georgia, voting rights activists such as Rainbow Push Coalition and the Black Votes Matter Fund have filed several lawsuits highlighting the wrongful purge of more than 200,000 voters from their voting rolls in the last two years. Many other groups are also involved in this effort to reinstate these voters before Senate runoff elections.
Moreover, an independent analysis of more than 300,000 voters wrongly purged from voter rolls provides a sorrowful picture of how almost 60 percent of these voters wrongfully lost their right to vote. This case of Georgia voter suppression became possible as a result of the wrongful assumption of the voters changing addresses.
To study the insights of these numbers, ACLU and Greg Palast conducted the analysis. It is not a surprising fact that an overwhelming majority of these voters are Democrats.
More interestingly, the state did not use the United States Postal Service services to confirm the address of these voters, as required by law. The task was deliberately given to a one-person firm located in Nebraska.
This suggests that Georgia voter suppression is a pervasive thing that is endangering the fundamental human right to vote for the millions of Georgians.
A Targeted Scrutinizing of the Counties with Black and Democrat Majority Voters:
In the current round of Georgia voter suppression, Republicans are playing with the targeted approach to win Georgia. They are primarily focusing on targeting the counties with a majority of Black voters or historically blue voters.
In Cobb County, eleven locations were to be opened for early voting to provide the facility to 537,000 voters. However, only five were opened, resulting in polling stations being crowded, and many voters missed a chance to cast their vote even after waiting for hours.
According to the Cobb County director of the election, they are short of staff because of the pandemic situation. Therefore, they did not have any other way except reducing the number of voting locations.
Janine Eveler made this statement in a letter to the NAACP Legal Defense and several other advocacy groups that raised concerns over the situation.
According to the New York Times, Cobb County has a majority of Democratic voters as President-elect Joe Biden won it by a 14 percent majority. Democrats believe that this decision was taken deliberately to discourage Democrat voters from casting their votes. The Times also reported that some of the closed locations, including the Smyrna Community Center, have a majority of Black voters.
Several advocacy groups, including Fair Fight Action, led by Stacey Abrams, had offered help by providing the required staff workers. Still, Eveler said that there was not enough time for staff recruitment and declined the offer. There are also reports that Republican Senate members are also pushing for a photo ID requirement as a means to tamp down on absentee ballots.
Similarly, a federal judge from Georgia has ordered two Georgia counties to reverse their decisions that will remove around 4,000 registered voters from their rolls. Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner is a sister of Stacey Abrams. It appears that the two counties, Muscogee County and Ben Hill County, have unverified data of many registered voters.
According to Associated Press, more than 54,000 people whose voter registrations were un-verified by the state election officials were Black.
The same Georgia voter suppression techniques were followed in the general election, but Republicans failed to get the desired results. Pro Publica found that the average waiting time after 7 p.m. was 51 minutes in non-white voting locations, while it was six minutes in areas where 90 percent of voters were white.
The same techniques are expected to be used in Senate runoff elections, where the Republican administration of the state will try to make a suitable environment for red voters.
An important thing to be understood at this point is that voter fraud and voter suppression are two entirely different things. After losing the State of Georgia, Trump and his team claimed that the election was taken from him through voter fraud. At the same time, many officials, including the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, made it clear that there is no evidence of voter fraud.
Voter suppression refers to the violation of the right to vote and access the poll without fear of retaliation or violence. Voter suppression is even a bigger problem than voter fraud, and the history of the United States decries these things. Voter fraud undermines the legitimacy of an election, while voter suppression stops people from deciding who they want to lead the country where they live.
Is Republicans Georgia Voter Suppression a New Thing? No, They Have History of Suppressing Georgia Voters:
The history of voter suppression in Georgia dates back to the Civil War period. It started when the Ku Klux Klan deliberately spread violence to discourage Black Voters to re-establish white supremacy in the state.
Georgia was one of those states that perfected the Jim Crow laws limiting African American voters’ role in determining the election outcome.
Georgia’s strategy of voter suppression is multi-pronged and spans many dimensions. Most of the time, Black voters faced the brunt of these dirty tactics by Georgia. There have been instances when polling stations in Black-majority areas were closed to stop voters from casting their votes.
Sometimes voters were forced to wait in lines for hours, despite the existing laws, to cast their ballot, so many went back without even casting it. Republicans have been holding Georgia’s legislature with well-planned strategies of voter suppression.
This dismal state of affairs is not only present in Georgia but also across the map of the United States.
In the 1990s, Georgia adopted a rule called” use it or lose it,” despite concerns from the Justice Department that this act will affect Black voters of the state.
In 2013, a Supreme Court decision invalidated several parts of the 1965 voting rights act that eventually granted each state the power to formulate rules without any prior consultancy with the United States Justice Department.
According to Georgia Public Broadcasting and ProPublica, after this decision, the state began cutting statewide polling places by ten percent.
In 2017, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who was running for governor at that time, removed more than half a million voters from voter rolls in just one day.
American Public Media claims that more than 107,000 voters were dumped by the state secretary, while Kemp won the election with only 55,000 more votes than Stacey Abrams.
As a result, an uprising was seen that urged the governor to extend the period before a voter can be purged from seven to nine years, adding that election officials should send a second notice to the voters before their removal.
Georgia voters also suffered for years because of the rules that required voter signatures and names to precisely match the government database. There have been several instances when the data mismatched because of the outdated data held by state and federal agencies. This mismatch of the information has been a barrier to many voters in casting their vote.
According to the Lawyers‘ Committee for Civil Rights (LCCR), voter registrations of more than 50,000 voters of color were removed in 2018 because their name and signature did not match their data in outdated DDS records.
Similarly, thousands of voters were flagged as non-citizens when the DDS records failed to recognize their applications.
All of this provides evidence that Georgia voter suppression is an ever-lasting thing that helps the dominant candidate while suppressing the average American voters.
Suppressing the fundamental right to vote is one of the biggest thefts in democracy. It restricts people from practicing their rights, which decides the people to rule the country.
The voter suppression also gets more media attention this time, as it is the most important Senate battle, as they will decide the Senate majority.
Only a free and fair election guarantees democracy. However, the prevailing Georgia voter suppression evinces that the voter suppression is the only strategy of the Republicans in Georgia.
This is because Trump has already been caught stealing the campaign money of the Georgia races, so they cannot do anything but to steal the vote now. Some sane steps must be taken by the concerned authorities to hold the voter suppressors accountable to reinstate the sanctity of every single vote.