U.S. mid-term elections in the state of Georgia has again attracted controversy after dozens of black senior citizens were removed from a bus that was transporting them to vote.
The bus was preparing to leave a county-operated senior center - with about 40 people - when the center director ordered them off the vehicle, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
"We knew it was an intimidation tactic,” Black Voters Matter (BVM) co-founder, LaTosha Brown, said. “It was really unnecessary. These are grown people.”
BVM had arranged for the bus, the Journal-Constitution reported. Brown added that the group had secured permission, before explaining that a county clerk had raised concerns about the bus.
Jefferson County Administrator Adam Brett said his office viewed the event as a “political activity” because it was organized with county Democratic Party Chairwoman Diane Evans.
“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.”
Last week, over 53,000 voter applications were placed on hold in Republican candidate Brian Kemp’s office ahead of the election, according to an Associated Press report. Almost 70 percent of those registrations are reportedly from black applicants. Voters will choose between African American Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams, and Kemp, for governor.
Public polls have suggested that the racial makeup of the voters is trending to significantly impact the election’s outcome.
Kemp, who is the secretary of state, is responsible for overseeing the elections. Statistics show a virtual dead heat. Voting rights advocacy groups have criticized Kemp for using his office to suppress voters in an attempt to influence the mid-term election result.
Election officials can place non-matching applications on hold under Georgia’s “exact match” verification process. The policy requires that information on voter applications "exact match" policy requires that information must identically match information on file with the Georgia Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration.
The secretary of state has remarked that he is executing his designated job.
“The thing of it is, is that blue waves aren’t blue … the blue wave is African-American. It’s white, it’s Latino, it’s Asian-Pacific Islander. It is disabled. It is differently abled. It is LGBTQ, it is law enforcement. It is veterans. It is made up of those who have been told they are not worthy of being here. It is comprised of those who are documented and undocumented. It is comprised of those who have been told they’re successful and those who have been left behind,” Abrams commented.
During a Fox News interview, Kemp countered to accuse Abrams of supporting immigrants without legal status to vote.
“Wow. It means she wants illegals to vote in Georgia. This is a shocking development in the campaign. While she was campaigning with Elizabeth Warren she actually said this,” Kemp said. “I think hard-working Georgians should decide who their governor is, not people here illegally like my opponent wants.”
Abrams could become the United States' first African-American woman mayor and the first person from an ethnic minority to be governor of the state of Georgia.