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Racial Justice Organizations Condemn ‘Catastrophic’ Georgia Primary Election

ATLANTA, GA—Yesterday, Georgia held its primary elections amidst the coronavirus pandemic with catastrophic outcomes for voters. Fewer polling locations, technical breakdowns, the rollout of new touchscreen voting machines, and insufficient backup materials for polling stations resulted in extraordinary long lines lasting eight hours or more, especially in Black and Brown communities. This rolling disaster in election administration compelled the extension of polling hours until 9:00 p.m. Advancement Project National Office, a national racial justice organization and New Georgia Project, a statewide civic engagement organization, issued the following statement.

“Many are asking for our take on yesterday’s election process. Well honestly, rage comes first, but that only ignites our work” said Nse Ufot, CEO of New Georgia Project. “There is a conscious disregard for Georgians by Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary Brad Raffensperger; from lack of preparation to lack of responsibility, showing that these folks are not what this great state is about. We stand with our brothers and sisters throughout Georgia to say – enough is enough.”

The election comes after the groups sent a letter in April with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, demanding changes to the state’s upcoming primary election procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter requested improvements for voters statewide and demanded action to protect the voting rights of those directly and indirectly impacted by Georgia’s first public health state of emergency.

“The failure of Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary Raffensperger to prepare Georgia for its June primaries is the result of intentional inaction by the state. It is voter suppression plain and simple,” said Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project National Office. “It is no coincidence that the precincts with the longest lines, the fewest polling locations and the least resources are precincts where Black and Brown voters live. Voting rights advocates forewarned Georgia leaders that communities of color would be disproportionately disenfranchised if emergency changes were not made to the state’s election plan. The state’s primary was a nightmare and the perfect example of how not to run an election. Georgia election officials have an obligation to ensure the state’s upcoming elections are accessible, safe, and healthy for all Georgia voters. We will continue fighting for Black and Brown communities to ensure they can cast a ballot in come November.”

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New Georgia Project is a non-partisan effort to register and civically engage the rising electorate in our state. The New Georgia Project is working to change that inequality.

Advancement Project National Office is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change. Visit www.advancementproject.org.

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