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.
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.