If you thought the intimidation of black voters was something that disappeared with the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, then you need to pay a visit to the small town of Sparta, Georgia, where police officers are now going door-to-door and challenging the voting rights of African-American voters in Sparta. Specifically, the Hancock County Board of Elections and Registration has been:
“Systematically questioning the registrations of more than 180 (black residents) by dispatching deputies with summonses commanding them to appear in person to prove their residence or lose their voting rights.”
It should be noted that those 180 black residents of Sparta make up roughly one fifth of Sparta’s total registered voters.
A lawsuit has now been filed alleging that the Hancock County Board of Elections initiated their policy of intimidation in order to help white candidates win more elections in Sparta. County attorney Barry Fleming said the challenges to black voters have nothing at all to do with race:
“The allegations that people were denied the right to vote are the opposite of the truth. This is probably more about politics and power than race.”
Marion Warren, a Sparta elections official, said the experience of having police show up at your door could indeed be more than a bit frightening:
“A lot of those people that was challenged probably didn’t vote, even though they weren’t proven to be wrong. People just do not understand why a sheriff is coming to their house to bring them a subpoena, especially if they haven’t committed any crime.”
But the fact remains that no one should ever be questioned by police about whether or not their voter registration is legal and be forced to prove their address is correct. Such things take place in police states, and this country is supposed to stand for ideals much higher than those of totalitarian nations we claim to despise.
This article was originally published by the same author at Liberal America.org