NAACP files lawsuit to stop alleged voter purges in Hancock County

The Georgia NAACP filed a federal voting rights lawsuit Tuesday against election officials in Sparta and Hancock County.

In the suit, the NAACP asks the federal court to stop the alleged illegal purging of African American voters in Sparta and Hancock County.

The suit names as defendants the Board of Elections and Registration chair Kathy Ranson, Vice Chair Nancy Stephens, Secretary Jim Youmans and members Robert Ingram and Linda Clayton. Elections Supervisor Tiffany Medlock is also named in the suit.

Medlock declined comment.

The NAACP claims in the suit that the defendants "have conducted and are continuing to conduct voter purges and/or voter list maintenance activities" in violation of federal voter registration laws.

"This is part of our ongoing post-Shelby administration monitoring across Georgia," Statesboro civil rights attorney and Georgia NAACP President Francys Johnson said. "This case is illustrious of the insidious attacks eviscerating the gains achieved under the (Voting Rights Act) and the (National Voter Registration ACT). The NAACP will mortgage every asset we have to defend the unfettered access to the ballot. It was paid for with the blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors - it's sacred."

Johnson said officials filed the lawsuit because Sparta and Hancock election officials repeatedly challenged and purged eligible voters because of alleged address changes and without complying with federal guidelines.

"It also appears that these challenges and removals have not been conducted uniformly and discriminate against African Americans..., " Johnson said.

The NAACP president said the organization will monitor other areas around the state to make sure election officials are complying with federal laws.


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