Friday Dec. 18 [Atlanta] — Representatives for Black Voters Matter were joined by a victim of Georgia’s voter purge and a group of leading voting rights attorneys to confront Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, with a demand to return wrongly purged voters to rolls — or face a new lawsuit
Palast and Brown were joined by their legal team, which included C.K. Hoffler of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Gerald Griggs, Robert Patillo, Maria Banjo, and Law Professor Barbara Arnwine, founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition. The group were trying to set up a meeting with the Secretary of State’s Office that had been recommended by Judge Steve Jones in an order issued on Wednesday, Dec. 16, following a complaint filed by the group that aimed to restore 198,000 wrongly purged voters to the rolls.
The group hoped to present a corrected list to the Secretary of State and ask that citizens, including a College Park voter who’d been wrongly purged, be returned to the rolls immediately — since, otherwise, they will be denied their vote in the January 5 run-off elections that will decide two Senate seats — and the balance of power in Washington.
The attorneys backed the demand by serving Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger with a formal notice of a new federal lawsuit should he fail to comply or stall on the Court’s opinion that the parties meet to correct the purge lists. The plaintiffs will hit Raffensperger with a new federal suit unless Raffensperger complies.
The list of wrongly purged voters will be supplied by experts with the Palast Investigative Fund, updated from a report Palast released in September through the ACLU of Georgia.
However when the group arrived at the Secretary of State’s office, oddly, it was closed. The lights were off, their phones went to voicemail — it seemed that they decided to take an early weekend.
After a bit of digging, the team discovered that the Secretary of State had another office a block away where they were holed up, so the team ventured over there.
After once again going through security, they were able to meet — ever so briefly — with someone from the Secretary of State’s office.
Palast tried to get the Elections Director Chris Harvey to answer some questions and to commit to restoring at least a handful of voters that Palast and his team have personally been in contact with, to no avail. No commitment, no answers.
“Georgia’s officials have been exposed using a horrendously inaccurate list of voters whom they claim had filled out postal change-of-address forms. The Postal Service itself says they did not. They did not move,” says Palast. “Yet, the political hacks that run Georgia’s elections have chosen this rotten trick to stop tens of thousands of citizens from voting. It is a cold, racially poisonous game, brazenly backed by the Republican National Committee lawyers desperate to bend the upcoming Senate run-off. “
Zach D Roberts is an investigative photojournalist who covers far-right extremism and voter suppression in America. He covered the Unite the Right Rally in Chalottesville and his work there helped put four white extremists in jail. He co-produced Greg Palast's films The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Vigilante: Georgia's Vote Suppression Hitman. Roberts is a Palast Investigative Fund Fellow and Puffin artist grant recipient.