Pattern of Voter Intimidation By the Georgia Secretary of State
Which brings me to the events of October 15th, 2018 in Jefferson County, Georgia. We began our day of the voter mobilization rally at a senior center. We shared our message of love and power with dozens of seniors who are excited to participate. In fact, the group was so excited that the rally moved into the parking lot where we added some music and had a good old fashioned dance party as the seniors sang along with James Brown, "Say it loud, I'm black and I'm proud." The group then asked if they could ride our bus, the blackest bus in America, to go early vote at the polling place just down the street. But before we could depart the center's director received a call from the county's administrator stating that the seniors could not ride the bus to go vote. In the interest of time, I will spare the committee the administrator's inadequate and racist response, but will gladly discuss during Q&A. But ours wasn't the only vehicle to be blocked from providing rides to the polls. In Cordele, Georgia, one of our partners was providing rides to the polls when we he was given a parking ticket by a state trooper. I repeat, a state trooper gave him a parking ticket. And then proceeded to call for backup. Resulting in a total of seven patrol cars, five of which were state troopers. What we've seen is a pattern of intimidation. And one of the most aggressive entities has been the secretary of state's office itself. The office has an investigative unit which has pursued several high profile, yet frivolous cases against effective voting rights organizations. We mentioned one early in terms of the New Georgia Project. Moreover, these armed investigators often conduct home visits to individual voters or activists, knowing that their pointless visits can have a chilling effect on civic engagement. In fact, just a few days ago, just a few days before this hearing, one of these investigators visited the community organizer who had invited us to Jefferson County. She's actually here with us today.