Victory for Lincoln County locals!
Lincoln County Board of elections and registration conducted a meeting on March 9, 2022, where its members voted to “not consolidate” the voting precincts in their County. This comes after pressure from local citizens and multiple organizations to not close 4 polling locations and keep the 7 polling locations that are available. The New Georgia Project Peanut Gallery, Protect The Vote GA, Black Voters Matter, The Peoples Agenda, advocates, and Lincoln County locals came together to attend the BOE meeting.
Prior to the meeting starting, Rev. Denise Freeman read aloud a letter from Helen Bulter and The Peoples Agenda which stated that after submitting the petition to the board during the last meeting they have not responded to the petition. During the last Lincoln County BOE meeting in February 23, 2022, 20 minutes before the meeting was set to start Helen Butler’s office (The Peoples Agenda) let the Elections Director, Lilvender E. Bolton, as well as the board and Lincoln County community members, know that they have raised 20% of the population’s signature in a petition denouncing the vote on closing polling locations. The reason for this is because with 20% of the voters from precincts signing this petition Lincoln County is not legally allowed to make the vote to close said precincts.
Chairperson James Allen called the meeting to order at 4:58pm, stating, “Ok before we get into the voting, my name is on the ballot so therefore I got 2 minutes and I’d like to express some things.” He thanked his board members for “putting up with what I put them through which is nothing but terror” which was met with disagreement from locals and organizers attending the meeting. He continued stating, “They stood by me from the very beginning and that’s the reason we’re going to do what we’re going to do tonight. I will state what the purpose of this was and it was not to suppress any voters in this County.” Again Chairperson Allens statements were met with disagreements and concerns from locals and organizers attending the meeting. “What it was for, is for the convenience of the electors and public interests. So at this time we’re going to shut it down and continue with the important stuff,” stated Chairperson Allen. Met once again with disagreements from attendees, the board decided to move forward with a unanimous vote to “not consolidate” polling locations in Lincoln County. The meeting was then adjourned after lasting 4 minutes total.
After board members swiflty adjourned the meeting and was leaving the room, Rev. Freeman asked Chairperson Allen if the board if this is over (regarding bringing up consolidating polling locations) and he answered, “No” while Elections Supervisor Bolton said, “It’s over.” This was met with feares that the board will bring up consolidating polling locations before the November elections. “I want to thank the residents of Lincoln County for showing up. We know that it can come up again. It’s the same as Randolph County. Stay vigilant,” expressed Activist and Organizer Cindy Battles with The Peoples Agenda after the meeting was adjourned. Rev. Freeman addressed locals stating, “We are the citizens. What we say counts. We may be people of color, but we are important. We will never go backwards!” Fenika Miller from Black Voters Matter also expressed her happiness that the board listened to locals but also agreed with Ms. Battles that we must stay vigilant.
Our New Georgia Peanut Gallery Lead Organizer Brittany Burns formally known as Brittany Jones-Chukura also spoke with News Channel WJBF reporter Deirnesa Jefferson stating, “We are going to stay vigilant when it comes to paying attention to them for the November elections.” Mrs. Burns also expressed, “Most of the concerns from the locals are you’re supposed to empower our vote. You’re supposed to want to amplify us voting. You should want to get more people out to vote and make it easier for us to vote.” You can view the article HERE.
The next Lincoln County Board of Elections meeting will take place on April 20, 2022 at 5:30pm. We encourage locals and voting advocates to continue to keep their eyes on Lincoln County as well as all local board of elections meetings.
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.