Georgia’s voting problems during primary could repeat in November

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Smyrna resident LaVonya Tensley uses a stylus pen while voting on the new electronic voting machines at the Smyrna Community Center during the Georgia primary elections, Tuesday, June 9, 2020. Photo by Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS.

Long lines stretched outside polling places in parts of Georgia during Tuesday’s primary election. People waited for hours to vote, and then encountered problems with the machines when they finally got inside to cast their ballots.

Avis Jones DeWeever, a senior researcher and policy advisor at Black Women’s Roundtable, calls it 21st century voter suppression.

“These issues are by design,” she says. “These were not problems that were experienced uniformly across the state. These were problems that were concentrated in areas that were dominated by a Black populace.”

DeWeever says this falls in the purview of the Secretary of the State and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who was the former Secretary of State.

“Both have made it clear through their own actions that they will do anything they can to inhibit the ability of Black people to vote in Georgia,” she says. “I’m especially concerned that what we saw yesterday is just a precursor to what we’ll see on steroids in November.”

Meanwhile, two Black female politicians from Georgia, former assemblywoman Stacey Abrams and Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, are on the short list for Joe Biden’s running mate.

“It was the Black community that literally revived his political campaign when he won South Carolina in the primary season, and so … it makes sense that he would have a Black woman on the ticket to help him navigate the situation and energize a critical part of the Democratic base for November.”

DeWeever thinks Senator Kamala Harris is the leading candidate, despite her criminal justice record as Attorney General of California.

Credits

Guest:
Avis Jones DeWeever - senior researcher and policy advisor at Black Women’s Roundtable

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin, Kathryn Barnes