Fulton County, Georgia admits to illegally disenfranchising voters
In a settlement reached this month Fulton County, Georgia admitted to illegally disenfranchising and misleading voters. The predominantly republican controlled county face more then 24 violations of state law including rejecting eligible ballots improperly and sending voters to the wrong precincts. The voters disenfranchised was mostly black and brown citizens and is raising more questions about the GOP's apparent war on minorities voters.
Fulton county will pay a fine of $180,000. and is forced to make policy changes in order to in sure the problems do not continue in the future, the county has promised to spend an additional $200,000 on new training software for their poll workers.
Voting rights advocates who focus on the region, including Julie Houk with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, praised the Secretary of State for investigating the violations but questioned whether the punishment fits the crime.
“What’s going to happen to that money?” she asked ThinkProgress. “How is the state going to use it? Is it wise to make the county pay a very large civil penalty in light of the economic crunch many of these counties are in? I wonder why a settlement couldn’t have been reached to set aside the money for remedial training to make sure the issues don’t happen again.”
Fulton country includes Atlanta who's voting population is mostly black and leans progressive. Residents voted heavily for President Obama in 2008 and 2012 leading to the President winning Fulton by a large margin.
In 2013 The Supreme Court essentially gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act. previously any changes to the voting process made by any of the former "Jim Crow" states had to be pre-cleared by the the Federal government. in the conservative majority lead 5 to 4 decision of Shelby v. Holder decided that Section 4 of the VRA was no longer necessary because to quote Chief Justice John Roberts "We are a post-racial society now". Section 4 was the provision of the Voting Rights Act that gave the Justice Department the authority to investigate any possible disparate impact to any protective groups if a local municipality decides to change its voting procedures. The Supreme Court has said that congress should pass a new law that would fix the VRA and make it more modern but as of yet there has been little movement in congress.