ATLANTA — This week, Fair Fight Action held a press conference to provide updates on the landmark federal lawsuit Fair Fight Action v. Raffensperger as the trial heads into its final days.
The press conference featured voters and would-be voters, community leaders, and members of the Plaintiffs’ trial team. Voters shared their stories of overcoming–or getting caught up in–obstacles to the ballot box. These Georgians help comprise the 49 witnesses–including more than two dozen voters and would-be voters–called by Plaintiffs to highlight the human impact of the systemic inequities in the state’s electoral system. The Defense has begun presenting evidence and are expected to close their case on Friday. Closing arguments are scheduled for next Thursday, June 23.
Throughout this trial, Fair Fight Action and its co-plaintiffs argued that the Secretary of State and State Election Board engaged, and continue to engage, in practices that infringe upon various rights guaranteed under federal law, including the fundamental right to vote guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments, freedom from racial discrimination in voting in the Fifteenth Amendment, the promise of equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment, and the protection from racially discriminatory voting practices afforded by Section Two of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Excerpted press conference remarks from select participants can be found below:
“…As an active member of Atlanta’s Asian-American Pacific Islander community, and as a native Vietnamese speaker, I know the difficulties that many Asian voters face when trying to vote because of the spacing and sequencing of their names. […] That is why Georgia’s Exact Match Policy creates significant obstacles for Vietnamese Americans and Asian American voters in the state of Georgia.” – Georgia voter and volunteer Cam Ashling
“It is frustrating to see members of the AAPI community encounter so many obstacles when exercising their fundamental right to vote and to be disenfranchised simply because their names do not always conform to convention used in the United States.” – Cam Ashling
“After multiple attempts to call the DeKalb County Registrar’s Office for assistance, they decided the appropriate course of action was to have me vote by provisional ballot. Upon returning it to the poll manager who had been working with me, he said that he was not sure whether it would count or not. As I think anyone in my shoes would, I left that experience feeling disheartened and unsure as to whether my vote was going to count.” – Georgia voter Aaron Karp
“In the face of these and other obstacles, Virginia Highland Church has expanded our efforts and our voting rights ministry. And we will continue to do our part in the fight to ensure that every eligible Georgia citizen is able to register and cast their vote to express their God-given voice.” – Virginia-Highland Church Senior Pastor Rev. Matt Laney
“The challenge is we must continue to fight the fight, which we have waged here in this courthouse and across the state of Georgia, because the problems with voting, the problems with obstacles, the problem of difficulty in voting is far too common for us to view it as something that seldom happens. Through this court case, we have discovered it is not something that seldom happens, but far too often happens. So we must press the fight to see these obstacles are torn down–that voting is made easier, and those who are eligible, who have the right to vote, are able to cast their ballot, have their voice heard, and exercise power.” – Bishop Reginald Jackson, Presiding Prelate of the Sixth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church
“Instead of responding to these myriad needs, Secretary Raffensperger has spent this election cycle patting himself on the back for the tireless work of local elections administrators and organizers across the state. He has continued to misstate the remedies sought in this case for new Americans. He also continues to advocate that Georgia pass an unnecessary and redundant amendment to restrict voting in the state to citizens—which is already Georgia law.” – Fair Fight Action Communications Director Xakota Espinoza
Watch additional opening remarks from Fair Fight Action’s latest trial press conference here.