After tabling the vote in their February meeting, on Tuesday, Mar. 8 Spalding County’s BOE voted on ending Sunday voting for the mid-term elections. This comes after multiple members where removed or left the board and offices in response to HB 769, which only affects Spalding county.
Today members of the New Georgia Project Peanut Gallery along with Protect The Vote GA, Black Voters Matter, and concerned citizens of Georgia joined together to attend today’s Board of Election Meeting. Statistically, in Spalding County, Black citizens voted at a 4% higher rate than white counterparts on the with churchgoers often encouraged to vote after Sunday services, with initiatives known as “Souls to The Polls.” Kat Maddox, a volunteer of Protect The Vote GA, stated, “We’re only prolonging our racist history by directly attacking Sunday voting. It’s a slap in the face to our civil rights history- not to respect all of the hard work of our justice organizers and Souls to The Polls.” Pamela Jones, a member of the New Georgia Peanut Gallery, expressed her feelings about the Sunday voting vote, “I never thought I would see in my lifetime the blatant disregard for a right that many have lost their freedom, if not their life, to exercise, their right to vote.” “The State of Georgia, after numerous recounts in the last presidential election, found there was no wrongdoing at the polls – yet, many counties in Georgia insist on making changes in the voting process, polls or registration for the sake of, “ensuring no wrongdoings during voting”. “It makes absolutely no sense because this is not a Republican against Democrats issue, it’s a people issue”.
After hearing many concerned citizens testimony Jim O’Brien agreed with most locals in the data that in 2018 they had 123 people turnout to vote on the weekends and also stated that in 2020 they were able to have more weekend voters with 712 people voting which shows an increase in weekend turnout. Jim O’Brien also agreed with most concerned citizens that Sunday voting brings out more voters. This brought on a small debate between the board on where is the data to show how many voters participated in Sunday voting and how much it will cost the County. According to the board, most records have been sealed and they are having to file a court order to access the data. According to the Elections Supervisor, Kimberly Slaughter, as well as member Roy McClain, “The board couldn’t access inventory and therefore we feel inadequate to vote.” “How long is this going to take? Another month? We need to vote!” expressed Jim O’Brien to which members of the crowd applauded. “They got the backbone of a chocolate eclair, “expressed local citizen Kim Williams about the board continuing to table the vote. Kimberly Slaughter also let it be known that the board has not voted on a budget for Sunday voting since 2018 which was disappointing for a lot of locals attending the meeting to hear.
The Spalding County BOE meeting has tabled the vote to April and the specific date is TBA.
“What we heard today was multiple residents and citizens speak in favor of Sunday voting. We heard Chairman O’Brien, who is a board member, provide specific data related to the turnout from Sunday voting as well as the additional cost that may be associated with Sunday voting. And what this board determined to do is to dismiss all of their voices and to table the issue,” noted Georgia State coordinator for Black Voters Matter Fenika Miller. PSL Atlanta was also in attendance to the Spalding County meeting. New Georgia project plans to attend the next Spalding County BOE meeting which will be in April.
Become a Peanut Gallery Volunteer Monitor at our next training on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 6pm! visit https://georgiapeanutgallery.org/contact/ for more information!
Did you know that the public can attend Board of Registration and Elections meetings?
These meetings are open to the public by Georgia law. Georgia Open Meetings Act.