According to the New York Times, counties across the nation are attempting to intimidate and prevent black voters from participating in elections. In Sparta, Georgia, the local sheriff’s deputies questioned nearly 180 individuals and demanded they prove their residence and summonsed them to appear in court. If they could not appear, they would lose their voting rights.
The board of elections in Sparta is predominantly white, and many have seen these actions as a tactic to ensure that white candidates are guaranteed victory in municipal elections. Black voters make up around one-fifth of registered voters in Sparta, and the town in eighty percent black.
Those questioned filed a lawsuit in November against the board.
These tactics, according to voting rights advocates, have become more common since the Supreme Court dismantled part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that would have required preclearance before cities and states with a history of discrimination against black voters could change voting rules.
The proliferation of these tactics to suppress black turnout suggests that black voters may still need federal protections to guarantee their voting rights.
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