Georgia just stopped a bus filled with elderly Black voters from reaching the polls

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Faced with the harsh reality that the Republican Party and its appalling platform of open racism, xenophobia, and plutocratic nihilism is enormously unpopular with the vast majority of Americans, the GOP has elected to cheat in order to try to ward off the consequences of public backlash at the ballot box.

This strategy has taken the form of major voter suppression campaigns by Republican state officials, mostly by using bureaucratic tricks to kick hundreds of thousands of likely Democratic voters — like the poor, students, and minorities — off the voting rolls, making it more difficult to vote in the first place with restrictive voter I.D. laws, and by closing the polling stations entirely.

But sometimes that just isn’t enough, and the instruments of state violence are used to literally stop people from going to vote.

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A group of 40 or so senior African-Americans were boarding a bus chartered by nonpartisan electoral activist group Black Votes Matter this morning in Louisville, Georgia, to take them to the polls for early voting.

But somebody was aghast at the sight of African-Americans going to the polls and decided to call the county commissioner and complain, claiming that the bus didn’t have the proper “license” to drive people to the polls.

The bus did not need a “proper license” to drive people to the polls.

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The Black Voters Matter called off the trip today because “they didn’t want to cause any trouble in the small town,” but the organizers decried the interference as “live voter suppression.”

The police were not involved and the county commissioner’s office has denied that any complaints were made.

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“This is voter suppression, Southern style. I’m very upset. I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I’ve got a lot of emotions right now. Even in the absence of law, they will use tactics like intimidation and voter suppression. Somebody called the county commission, but there was nothing illegal or inappropriate” complained BlackVotesMatter co-founder LaTosha Brown.

 

The woman who aims to be Georgia’s first Black governor, Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams is locked in a tight race against Republican Brian Kemp, the current Secretary of State who has taken a vicious beating in the press after it was discovered that his office just blocked 53,000 voters — 70% of them African-American — from registering to vote.

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The importance of voting has never been more clear than it is in this upcoming mid-term election — which is why the Republican Party and their racist supporters are doing everything they can to keep people from exercising their rights. It’s up to us to donate, canvass, and phonebank as hard as we can to make sure the blue wave retakes Congress and starts to fix the awful mess that Trump and his cronies have left this country in.

You can support BlackVotesMatter here.

You can donate to Stacey Abrams here.

Original reporting by Kira Lerner at ThinkProgress.

An earlier title to this article incorrectly stated that Georgia police were involved in the removal of people from the bus and has been updated accordingly.

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Natalie Dickinson

Natalie is a staff writer for the Washington Press. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been freelance blogging and writing for progressive outlets ever since.

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