According to a report from the New York Times, Republicans in Georgia are making a concerted effort to purge election officials they don’t believe are on their side as they put up more barriers to casting a vote in the 2022 election.
Of note is a concentration on the elimination of officials who are Democrats and, particularly, those who are Black.
Case in point, Lonnie Hollis who sat on the Troup County election board since 2013.
According to the report, “A Democrat and one of two Black women on the board, she has advocated Sunday voting, helped voters on Election Days and pushed for a new precinct location at a Black church in a nearby town. But this year, Ms. Hollis will be removed from the board, the result of a local election law signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican. Previously, election board members were selected by both political parties, county commissioners and the three biggest municipalities in Troup County. Now, the G.O.P.-controlled county commission has the sole authority to restructure the board and appoint all the new members.”
In an interview, Hollis explained, “I speak out and I know the laws. The bottom line is they don’t like people that have some type of intelligence and know what they’re doing, because they know they can’t influence them.”
The Times reports that Hollis is not the only one being singled out.
“Across Georgia, members of at least 10 county election boards have been removed, had their position eliminated or are likely to be kicked off through local ordinances or new laws passed by the state legislature. At least five are people of color and most are Democrats — though some are Republicans — and they will most likely all be replaced by Republicans,” the report states before adding, “Officials like Ms. Hollis are responsible for decisions like selecting drop box and precinct locations, sending out voter notices, establishing early voting hours and certifying elections. But the new laws are targeting high-level state officials as well, in particular secretaries of state — both Republican and Democratic — who stood up to Mr. Trump and his allies last year.”
In an interview, Jena Griswold, the chairwoman of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State explained, “It’s a thinly veiled attempt to wrest control from officials who oversaw one of the most secure elections in our history and put it in the hands of bad actors. The risk is the destruction of democracy.”
As for Hollis, who is still at her job for the moment, she is doing what she can before she leaves.
“Ms. Hollis is trying to do as much as she can in the time she has left on the board. The extra precinct in nearby Hogansville, where the population is roughly 50 percent Black, is a top priority. While its population is only about 3,000, the town is bifurcated by a rail line, and Ms. Hollis said that sometimes it can take an exceedingly long time for a line of freight cars to clear, which is problematic on Election Days,” the report states.
“I’m not going to sit there and wait for you to tell me what it is that I that I should do for the voters there. I’m going to do the right thing,” she declared.
You can read more here.