Georgia Government Officials Shut Down Bus Transporting Black Seniors To Early Vote
This is really something. Government officials in Jefferson County, GA had some 40 Africa-American elders disembark from a bus run by the group Black Voters Matter, which was taking them to cast votes early on Monday. According to AJC reports, the bus was readying to leave a senior center operated by Jefferson County when the center’s director told the group they’d have to get off the bus because a county clark had called voicing concerns.
“We knew it was an intimidation tactic,” LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matters said Tuesday. “It was really unnecessary. These are grown people.”
Tuesday Jefferson County’s administrator said the county government considered the event at the senior center “political activity,” which isn’t allowed during county-sponsored events — but Black Voters Matter is a nonpartisan group. Apparently the county government considered the event political because Jefferson County Democratic Party Chairwoman Diane Evans helped organize it, County Administrator Adam Brett said in a statement.
“Jefferson County administration felt uncomfortable with allowing senior center patrons to leave the facility in a bus with an unknown third party,” Brett said. “No seniors at the Jefferson County senior center were denied their right to vote.”
Does that sound like BS to you? Cuz it does to us.
Brown says Black Voters Matter received permission in advance to have the event at the senior center. The event was intended to encourage seniors to vote but when some of the seniors asked whether they could ride the bus to an early-voting location, Black Voters Matter agreed to take them.
Evans said that during the event, the senior citizens got excited about voting even danced by the bus while “Say It Loud — I’m Black and Proud” by James Brown blasted through the speakers. Things literally went south after someone saw the bus– which is painted with the words “The South is Rising Tour” and called county government offices, which in turn led to the phone call from the county clerk to the senior center. After being asked to leave the bus, the senior citizens agreed to part ways with the ride and vote later.
“It was discouraging that they weren’t able to vote,” said Evans, who was on the bus. “When they’re suppressing votes, they’re going to come up with any kind of excuse about what your problem is.”
Evans argued that the event wasn’t political and that none of the organizers advocated for any one candidate. She added that her involvement in the event was in her capacity as a private citizen, pastor and community leader, not as the chairwoman of the county’s Democratic Party.
Despite this small setback Monday, Brown says she’s confident that all the seniors will have their votes count this election.
“The seniors were so resolved. They said: ‘We’re going to vote. Nobody’s going to stop us,’ ” Brown said. “It wasn’t the first time someone has denied them or tried to prevent them from voting.”
ThinkProgress first reported the incident Monday.
We have to be vigilant and make ever incident like this known to the public. Black votes have been disenfranchised since this country’s beginning. This nation will never be great if all of its citizens are not allowed their rights.