Georgia appeals federal court blocking election process that discriminates against black voters

Georgia is appealing a federal judge’s decision to halt statewide elections for the Georgia Public Service Commission because they dilute black votes.

Voters were supposed to vote for two of the five seats on the commission in November, but U.S. District Judge Steven Grimberg said in a 64-page decision the election process violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Allowing any Georgian to vote for specific districts in the race blocks the ability for black voters to choose a commissioner of their choice, Grimberg said.

The Public Service Commission oversees Georgia Power and other utilities in the state. Companies must ask the Commission for permission to change tariffs. Since its inception more than 140 years ago, only two black commissioners have served on the board.

Governor Brian Kemp appointed Fitz Johnson last year to fill a vacancy, and Governor Roy Barnes appointed David Burgess in 1999. Burgess became the only black candidate elected by voters when he retained his seat in 2000.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger testifies during the fourth hearing on the January 6 investigation at the Cannon House Office Building on June 21, 2022 in Washington, DC (Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

A group of activists, including a former president of the Georgia NAACP and the president of the Atlanta chapter, filed the lawsuit against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

“I have seen the Public Service Commission take actions that have harmed the black community and Georgia Power’s customers,” said Brionte McCorkle, executive director of Georgia Conservation Voters, one of the plaintiffs.

Grimberg ordered Raffensperger to stop preparing ballots for Public Service Commission seats for a November 8 vote. The judge also barred the Secretary of State from holding further elections at large using the nationwide method.

Georgia said in its appeal that the court erred in finding that it had authority over the state’s political processes and did not have the liaison interests of allying officials’ jurisdiction (statewide decisions affect all taxpayers) with their electoral base sufficiently appreciated. ”

“This decision leaves a federal court as the sole arbiter of how Georgia can elect state utility regulators despite evidence of the impact of not holding statewide elections,” the appeal reads.

Attorneys for plaintiffs in the case said in response to the state’s appeal that Grimberg held a week-long trial and “has issued a detailed, 64-page statement explaining why he ruled in our clients’ favor.”

“We believe his judgment was correct and well founded, and we are confident that the Court of Appeal will agree,” they said.

District 2 and District 3 commission seats are up for election. Plaintiffs pointed out that District 3 includes Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton counties, where the voting population is approximately 49 percent black. US Census data shows that 33 percent of the state’s population is Black, and Black people make up 29 percent of the total voting population.

McCorkle said the Public Service Commission made decisions during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic that disproportionately affected black Georgians, including resuming delinquency shutdowns in the midst of the crisis.

“To make matters worse, the Public Service Commission just decided to charge Georgia Power’s customers for the costs they incurred due to COVID,” she said. “All of these things attack the black community. You end up in a black community. They harm us. It’s a few bucks here, 10 bucks here, but it all adds up. Our communities are already struggling, and these decisions have only put more weight on their shoulders.” Georgia appeals federal court blocking election process that discriminates against black voters

James Brien

24ssports is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button