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Police Were Called on Predominantly Black Voters Waiting to Cast Ballots After Midnight in Georgia


The widespread problems at polling locations throughout the state of Georgia during Tuesday’s primary elections forced many voters to wait on lines for multiple hours, sometimes well after the polling locations were scheduled to close. Georgians hoping to cast their vote at the Christian City polling location in South Fulton County were not only forced to endure grueling heat and lengthy lines well past midnight, they were also greeted by uniformed police officers who were called to the location because voters refused to leave until they were able to cast their ballot.

Georgia State Senator and chair of the state’s Democratic party Nikema Williams, who had already cast her vote earlier that morning, was at the Christian City polling location offering support to those waiting in line when the police arrived. South Fulton’s population is approximately 90-percent black or African American according to the latest census data.

“5 hours and 37 minutes after polls should’ve closed, the last voter cast a ballot in Georgia and the police were called on us,” Williams wrote. “Seven police cars were called because black voters refused to let their voices be silenced. This is why we march and why we vote.”

Williams, who had been documenting the long lines at Georgia polling locations throughout the day with several Facebook Live videos, also posted a photograph of officers on the scene.

“Tonight when I’d much rather be home celebrating my victory with my family, I’m out doing voter comfort because people are still in line in #Georgia voting after midnight,” she wrote, before adding, “Well, y’all the police were just called on us!!! A total of SEVEN cars!!!! This is why we march. This is why we protest. #Black people, keep making your voices heard!”

The relationship between predominantly black communities and police is particularly fraught at the moment, following weeks of unrest and protests amid the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of several white police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

As previously reported by Law&Crime, Georgia’s Republican Speaker of the House David Ralston on Tuesday directed the Government Affairs Committee to investigate what he called “election irregularities” ahead of the 2020 presidential election in November.

Many observers, including former 2018 gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D) said the problems at polling stations were a form of voter suppression.

[image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.