Yesterday, Dougherty County Board of Elections began consideration of the closures of five polling places in Dougherty County, all of which are at least 77% Black. These closures would impact over 7,400 Black voters and represent closing nearly one-fifth of all polling locations in Dougherty County. This proposal is a devastating attack on voting access that, if approved, will add burdensome new barriers to voting in Dougherty County, especially for Black voters.
Dougherty County must reject this blatant attack on Black voters. Black voters represent the vast majority of voters in every single precinct targeted for consolidation. While Black voters represent an average of 65% of voters across Dougherty County, in each precinct under consideration for closures, Black voters represent at least 77% of voters. The voters served by the Lovett Hall precinct are 92% Black.
Consolidating polling places will worsen Dougherty County’s already unacceptably long lines; in 2020, Dougherty voters waited over two and a half hours to vote during early voting. After an election that saw record turnout across the state of Georgia, the focus must be on protecting and further ensuring voting access for all eligible voters, not closing polling places and making voting more difficult.
These proposed closures, along with Georgia’s existing history of over 200 polling place closures since 2013, many of which disproportionately impact Black and brown voters, show the urgent need for federal voting rights protections—and the passage of the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, to protect voters from such devastating closures.
Members of the Dougherty County Board of Elections must reject these racist and harmful polling place closures and instead affirm their commitment to equitable and accessible elections for all Dougherty County voters. Fair Fight Action calls on the Dougherty County Board of Elections to unequivocally reject these proposed closures and protect the freedom to vote for all Dougherty County voters.