In a win for access to voting, Georgia’s largest county backed off a plan to shutter or move polling locations in several heavily African-American neighborhoods.
Last month, Fulton County, which includes Atlanta, approved a plan to consolidate or move several voting sites, saying fewer voters were using them on election day, thanks to the popularity of early voting.
But voting rights groups said in a letter to the board that confusion wrought by the changes could disenfranchise minority voters, “including those who typically walk or take public transportation in order to cast their ballots.”
The ACLU of Georgia sued to block the changes, claiming the county hadn’t given voters enough notice.
On Monday, the board said it had reversed its decision.
“We heard from members of the public that they would be very inconvenienced and disrupted by certain changes,” Mary Carole Cooney, the chair of the elections board, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We decided that we would not change anything prior to the November election.”
Controversy over voting issues has roiled Georgia lately. Voting rights advocates expressed concern over a recent purge of the voter rolls that removed nearly ten percent of voters. And three counties, including Fulton, may face legal action over their own procedures for removing voters.