Man fights eligibility of 13K voters. It’s the county Oprah visited in 1987 to ask why Black people were forced out
Forsyth County, Georgia, which has a deep history of racial resentment against Blacks, could become a battleground for election integrity.
Forsyth County, Georgia, which has a deep history of racial resentment against African Americans, is set to become a battleground for election integrity. A man who resides in the county recently filed a challenge to the eligibility of 13,609 voters in Forsyth County, amounting to about 8% of everyone who is registered to cast ballots there.
The effort is the largest so far under the state’s new elections law, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Forsyth County was once the site of a remarkable 1987 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show on which she sat with the white homeowners of the town to understand why African Americans were forced from the county in 1912 and not allowed to move back in for decades. According to Associated Press‘ coverage of the episode, one resident said, “We have a right to have a white community.″
New election laws were instituted in 2021 after Georgia flipped from red to blue for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, one of them making it possible for any voter to challenge the eligibility of as many voters in their county or city as they want. Forsyth County resident Frank Schneider filed a challenge, its biggest, with elections officials late Tuesday.
According to current census documents, 4.4% of Forsyth County residents are Black. There is currently no data on the demographics of the more than 13,000 voters whose registrations are being challenged by Schneider.
Schneider did not comment on the AJC story, but reportedly told the Forsyth County Voter Registrations and Elections Department that he compared its voting rolls with the U.S. Postal Service’s national change of address database.
Fair Fight Action, the Georgia-based voting rights group founded by former state representative and current gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, called the effort “the latest iteration of the Republicans’ voter suppression tactics.”
“County election officials should reject frivolous challenges that are contrary to federal law, and the Secretary of State should provide county elections administrators with the training, financial, and policy support they need to run elections where all eligible voters are able to register to vote, cast their ballot, and have that ballot counted,” Fair Fight Executive Director Cianti Stewart-Reid said in a statement.
Schneider’s challenge will be heard this week at a meeting of the five-member Board of Voter Registration and Elections, a session that was previously scheduled. The voters he flagged will not be removed from the Forsyth County voting rolls. However, those names can be targeted for additional scrutiny if they vote in the Georgia primary on May 24.
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