Secretary of State’s Office Stands Opposed to Randolph County Consolidation of Polls

Johnny Kauffman, a reporter for WABE, has posted to Twitter a letter from Chris Harvey, Elections Director for the Secretary of State’s office, to Mr. J. Scott Peavy, Chairman of the Randolph County Board of Elections and Registration.  The letter, which can be seen below, clearly states that the Secretary of State’s office stands in opposition to the consolidation of polling places in Randolph County. He places the responsibility solely upon the government officials, comprised of longtime Democrats in a Democratic county, of Randolph County. He further reiterates that they are fully responsible for the hiring and firing of Mike Malone as its consultant.

Letter from Secretary of State’s Office, as posted by Johnny Kauffman on Twitter

The proposal to close 7 of the 9 precincts in the county, which the ACLU heralded as a discriminatory proposal, was quickly taken up by some as a Republican tactic to discriminate against African-American voters. This claim was made in despite of a strong statement from Brian Kemp that he advised Randolph County to not make any changes until after the election and Erick Erickson pointing out that all five of the precincts won by Trump in the county would be shuttered under the proposal. Mr. Harvey’s letter is a strong statement that the blame is being misdirected.

As the smoke is beginning to clear, it is apparent that the Board of Elections and Registration and the Board of Commissioners of of Randolph County will have to make their own decisions on how to proceed in the upcoming election and they will need to be held accountable for those decisions. It is easy to pass the buck when a tough decision needs to be made, but Mr. Harvey has made it abundantly clear that the Secretary of State’s Office is not to blame.

UPDATE:  

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Benevolus
Benevolus

Wow. Methinks they doth protest too much. 1. The precincts that Trump won is a red herring. Individual precincts don’t count for anything by themselves, and winning the county isn’t the goal, just suppressing your opponents vote totals is. . 2. First the consultant said “Kemp recommended precinct consolidation”, then he said “he didn’t recall hearing the secretary of state say that”. Kind of a non-denial denial. 3. The consultant has donated to Kemp’s campaign. . 4. It’s kind of disturbing that apparently Randolph County was asking the SoS for help in resolving the issue, and what they get instead… Read more »

Benevolus
Benevolus

And, Kemp should resign now and just campaign. It’s a bit ridiculous for him to be managing the election that he is running in.

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

It’s a local matter and local government blew it, no thanks to the SoS. I haven’t followed the details closely, but I recollect it was reported that the consultant just didn’t say his proposal had SoS support, but that that was written or in a Power Point slide. Another recollection with respect to reporting is that the consultant had made a $250 donation to the Kemp campaign. A third much more hazy recollection that may not be true was that the consultant was among a list of three the SoS office provided to Randolph County officials. Consultant, meet bus. That’s… Read more »

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

Checked the AJC and the consultant had made a donation and that the consultant was included among of list of three consultants the SoS office provided to Randolph County. I lack the time to determine if the consultant stated the recommendation in writing.

Benevolus
Benevolus

By the way, just so nobody thinks this is some random, one-off situation:

“Under President Trump, the department has settled at least five enforcement actions in counties across the country where polling locations do not meet the stringent requirements of the ADA. Four of the five locations targeted by the Justice Department…have significant minority populations.”
https://thinkprogress.org/ada-voter-suppression-cd7031080bfd/