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June 9, 2017

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia today praised the Irwin County Board of Elections and Registration for abandoning two proposals to close polling locations in a way that would have made it significantly more difficult for Black and low-income voters to cast a ballot.

Setting aside the problematic configurations, the Elections Board instead approved a plan to retain three polling locations, which is consistent with the recommendations in a report from the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG).  This will place nearly every voter no more than 7-8 miles from a polling station.

“We thank the Elections Board for responding to the concerns raised by the ACLU and others about proposed changes that would have made it harder for Black and low-income voters to get to the polls,” said ACLU of Georgia Executive Director Andrea Young. “We look forward to working with the Elections Board in the future to discuss the best ways to ensure that every voter is able to freely exercise their fundamental right to vote.”

“This final polling place plan is a big improvement and addresses the concerns we raised,” said Sean J. Young, ACLU of Georgia Legal Director.  “Elections Boards across Georgia have been shuttering polling places and we trust they will ensure that any polling place closures will not make it disproportionately harder for Black and lower-income voters to vote.”

In an April letter, the ACLU urged the Board to abandon two proposals, which were brought to their attention by an ACLU supporter in the area and would have made it harder for voters to vote. One of those proposals would have eliminated the polling place in the heart of Ocilla, which has the highest concentration of Black voters in the county.

 

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