About 40 Black seniors excited about voting in Georgia’s Governor’s race, were ordered off a bus on their way to cast their ballot on Monday raising concerns of yet more voter suppression attempts.
As Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp runs for hovernor, there is a pressing problem in the state because he is blocking 53,000 voter registrations. Some 70% of those are Black voters and many claim it’s a blatant attempt to ensure that Democratic candidate, Stacey Abrams, doesn’t become the first Black woman governor in the country.
To combat voter suppression, groups like Black Voters Matter, have ramped up efforts to ensure that the state’s most vulnerable population – seniors – have a seat at the table and a seat on a bus to get to the polls and cast their votes. But just as they were getting ready to leave a senior center operated by Jefferson County, the center’s director told them to get off the bus, said LaTosha Brown, a co-founder of Black Voters Matter, to the AJC.
Yesterday, we experienced voter suppression in Louisville, Georgia.
We had a whole busload of beautiful black elders ready to go vote when the County Commissioner shut us down and made our elders get off the bus without having the chance to vote. Share this to spread the word! pic.twitter.com/fvULloAz4J
— Black Voters Matter (@BlackVotersMtr) October 17, 2018
A county clerk reportedly called the senior center and said there were “concerns” about the seniors being transported in the city of Louisville, south of Augusta by the Black Voters Matter bus. They were concerned about the “political activity” which isn’t allowed during county-sponsored events.
“We knew it was an intimidation tactic,” Brown said to the AJC. “It was really unnecessary. These are grown people.”
Preventing Black folks from living has become a phenomenon in this country. Now they can’t cast a vote in peace.
Black Voters Matter, however, is a nonpartisan group that works to encouraging Black people to vote. The county government however tried to make it out to be a political event since Jefferson County Democratic Party Chairwoman Diane Evans had a hand in organizing it, County Administrator Adam Brett said in a statement.
“Jefferson County administration felt uncomfortable with allowing senior center patrons to leave the facility in a bus with an unknown third party,” Brett said. “No seniors at the Jefferson County senior center were denied their right to vote.”
But can’t nobody outdo Black folks. As the seniors disembarked, they vowed to get a ride some way, and they jammed to James Brown’s “Say It Loud — I’m Black and Proud” as it blared through speakers, Evans said.
Black Voters Matter cofounder LaTosha Brown walks into a senior center in Louisville, Georgia and starts singing.
“We know that sometimes you’re forgotten,” she says, “but we want you to know that you matter.” pic.twitter.com/LukeT44Xjb
— Kira Lerner (@kira_lerner) October 15, 2018
Brown added: “The seniors were so resolved. They said: ‘We’re going to vote. Nobody’s going to stop us,’ ” Brown said. “It wasn’t the first time someone has denied them or tried to prevent them from voting.