SPARTA, Ga. — Around 40 people gathered outside the Hancock County courthouse in Sparta Wednesday, calling for the firing of county attorney Barry Fleming.
In addition to being county attorney, Fleming (R-Harlem) represents District 121 in the Georgia House of Representatives and won re-election in November.
Fleming, the chair of Georgia’s Special Committee on Election Integrity, sponsored sweeping legislation in Georgia’s General Assembly that critics say would restrict voting rights. It would restrict no-excuse absentee voting, prohibit early voting on the Sunday before the election, and make it a misdemeanor to hand out food and water to voters in line.
“HB 531 is a bill that was passed recently in the state legislature and that bill is what I would consider a voter suppression bill. It was sent forth to decrease the turnout among the African-American community,” said county coroner, Adrick Ingram.
13WMAZ reached out to Fleming by phone and email Wednesday afternoon; he has not responded.
According to 2019 census estimates, Hancock County’s population is around 71% African-American, and protestors say Fleming should not hold a key post in their county while trying to pass legislation that could “suppress” their votes.
“Our county attorney, who is hired by our commissioners, is the author and sponsor of the bill. We want him to get away from us and we want him to be fired,” said Ingram.
Those in favor of the bill say it would increase security and confidence in Georgia’s elections and prevent voter fraud. Critics say it’s a reaction to President Biden and two Democrat U.S. senators carrying the state.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has said repeatedly that voter fraud did not affect the outcome of the 2020 election.
Also, all cases nationwide that have sought to overturn Biden’s presidential victory were dismissed or withdrawn.
“This is a pro-Trump bill that is unfair and unjust,” said Ingram.