Federal Judge Stops Georgia GOP Voter Suppression In Its Tracks
Republicans Will Never Give Up. Black People Should Not Be Allowed To Vote.
In an unprecedented and indeed stunning move, the federal judge overseeing the voter suppression/voter purge case against the state of Georgia has handed the plaintiffs a victory without even bothering to hold a trial.
Judge Eleanor Ross has ordered Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to provide Georgia’s complete files on the mass purge of mostly black and other minorities from that state’s voter rolls.
Judge Eleanor Ross. Image Credit: www.law.com
The lawsuit was originally brought by investigative journalist Greg Palast who claimed that Georgia has illegally purged more than 500,000 voters from the rolls.
After hearing Palast’s attorneys’ charges and reviewing the evidence and Georgia’s defenses, Judge Ross said that the governor’s case was so weak that no trial would be necessary. On her own motion, an act called “sua sponte” in legalese, she ruled for the plaintiffs, even though Palast and company had not even requested such a ruling.
“Investigative reporter” only scratches the surface and does not do justice to Greg Palast’s deep and dogged commitment to exposing and, yes, purging the Republican Party’s decades-long efforts to keep black and poor people from voting. Palast, as the above video indicates, is also a prolific writer. He is the personification of the intrepid “newspaper man” of times gone by, right down to his “Columbo”-like, rumpled trench coat and broad-brimmed hat.
The instant case is a shining case in point: For six full years now, Palast has been fighting Kemp and Georgia to force release of their hidden purge lists and other voter suppression methods and means. Other media outlets have been basically following his lead, including Rolling Stone Magazine, Aljazeera, Salon, Democracy Now, and The Guardian.
As quoted in Black Agenda Report, Palast had this to say about this unexpected but welcome victory:
Kemp and the new Secretary of State of Georgia want to keep the lid on their methods for removing literally hundreds of thousands of low-income, young and minority voters on the basis of false information. They cannot hide any more. This is a huge win and precedent for reporters trying to pry information from the hands of guilty officials.
The basis of Palast’s suit is a scheme which is the brainchild of the influential right-wing lobbyist organization, the American Legislative Election Council (ALEC). They call it “Interstate Crosscheck.”
In this particular case, it went like this: Purge lists were secretly given to Georgia by the Kansas Secretary of State in 2015 and 2017. Kemp had earlier given Georgia’s complete voter rolls to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a dyed-in-the-wool Trump lackey who has his own long and sordid history of orchestrating unrelenting, racially biased voter suppression schemes and techniques both in Kansas and as head of a phony — now-defunct — “Voter Fraud Commission” set up by the Trump regime.
Palast’s attorneys pick up the story from here:
Kemp tried to hide the Crosscheck lists which he got from his crony Kobach. The lists are at least 99.9% wrong. Kemp’s office claimed he did not use the lists to purge voters, an assertion contradicted by his GOP predecessor. Moreover, Zach D. Roberts of the Palast investigative team obtained the Georgia 2013 purge list provided by Kobach through (legal) investigative techniques — so we know, and the judge knows, he has more squirreled away.
Kemp finally turned over evidence that he purged 106,000 voters, overwhelmingly voters of color, that were on the Crosscheck list. But that’s just the tip of the purge-berg.
Rev. Joseph Lowery is an Atlanta-based, legendary, civil rights leader and icon. He was a close confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Rev. Lowery is also the founder of the non-partisan organization, the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples Agenda. When asked about the Crosscheck tactics used by this current crop of Republicans, Lowery did not hesitate: “It’s Jim Crow all over again.”
For his part, Kemp’s attorneys offered the, at first blush, strange “defense” that he gave Georgia’s voter information to Kobach so that that information could be used to purge voters, not in Georigia, but in twenty-nine other states. Well, the judge wanted to know — just exactly how did that work? The answer: Kobach’s Georgia voter rolls supposedly showed that thousands of still-registered-in-Michigan voters were also registered or actually voted in Georgia.
Now we are getting somewhere, reasoned the judge…close to an admission of guilt, in fact. You see, using Georgia’s data, Michigan proceeded to purge tens of thousands of their own voters from their rolls using the argument that names like “James Brown” and “Mohammed Mohammed” or “Susan Smith” and “Carolyn Jones”— almost all with different middle names — were actually the same persons who had moved from Georgia to Michigan without bothering to update their registrations once they became Michiganders.
Amazing, no? Maybe even crazy? Certainly criminal.
The result in Michigan was absolutely devastating for Democrats in 2016. The Michigan purge of putative “Georgians” without a shadow of a doubt allowed Trump to eke out a razor-thin 10,700 vote victory margin out of 4,548,382 votes cast — just enough to hand Trump all sixteen of Michigan’s electoral college votes.
The Crosscheck scheme runs even deeper, though. Once again, Greg Palast:
The evidence is overwhelming that Kemp used the Crosscheck list in some way to purge Georgians — 106,000 is not a ‘coincidence’ — I do want to find out why Kemp was using Georgia voter rolls to remove voters in other states.
Now, extend, extrapolate and multiply this selfsame process to the twenty-nine other states mentioned above…and, well…you get what we got — “President” Donald Trump.