November 8, 2018
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Raises Grave Concerns Regarding Compliance with Federal Court Order in Georgia General Election
Some Counties Found to Have Violated Court Order Related to “Exact Match” Litigation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law issued a statement regarding evidence of election officials’ non-compliance with a recent federal court order issued in litigation involving the state’s “exact match” scheme. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and its partners monitored the November 6th general election and identified numerous issues, including non-compliance with a federal court order in Hall County, GA:
“Tuesday’s election was marred by several incidents in Georgia, as election officials in some counties failed to comply with Judge Eleanor Ross’s court order that required that all eligible voters in Georgia, including recently naturalized citizens, who provide appropriate ID be given the right to vote a regular ballot,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “In Hall County, Georgia, officials failed to comply with the order issued in litigation regarding the state’s discriminatory exact match scheme. Instead of allowing eligible voters the right to vote, officials subjected certain voters to the burden of going to the county elections office to provide proof of citizenship instead of accepting this documentation at the polling site as explicitly required under the court’s order. Moreover, some voters who are limited English proficient were denied their right to receive assistance from a person of their choice. The actions of Hall County officials imposed barriers and restrictions that impaired the rights of minority voters seeking to vote on Tuesday.”
Tuesday, in Hall County, election officials and poll workers interfered with the legitimate work of trained poll monitors who were assisting Limited English proficient voters seeking to exercise their right to vote in the 2018 midterm elections. The poll monitors’ work is specifically authorized under Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In violation of the federal law, poll workers sought to prevent voters from receiving help from their assistor of choice.
The poll monitors also assisted a voter whose name was incorrectly flagged as a potential non-citizen. Under the terms of the federal court order issued by Judge Ross on this precise issue, the voter had the right to present citizenship verification at the polling location and vote a regular ballot. In violation of the court’s order, Hall County election officials continually requested unnecessary documentation and insisted that the voter had to go to the county elections office before voting. The Hall County voter had to wait more than two hours to exercise her right to vote a regular ballot at her polling location, and almost assuredly would not have been permitted to do so were it not for the good work of the poll monitors.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law will continue to work with its partners, including the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, to ensure election officials’ compliance with the federal court order and to uphold limited English proficient voters’ right to assistance under the Voting Rights Act.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 55th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.
Contact: Derrick Robinson, Lawyers’ Committee, DRobinson@LawyersCommittee.org, 202-662-8317