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Richard Russell Would be Proud

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Georgia conservatives have reached into their nostalgia file for some good old fashioned racist vote suppression:

Georgia Republicans are advancing a bill through the state legislature that would suppress African-American turnout by eliminating Sunday voting and cutting the hours that polls are open in Atlanta.

The bill, SB 363, would force polls in the majority African American city of Atlanta to close an hour earlier — 7 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. — and would eliminate early voting on the Sunday before Election Day. That Sunday is often a high-turnout day for African American voters because of Souls to the Polls events that encourage people to cast ballots early after attending church.

The proposal passed the state House Governmental Affairs Committee Wednesday with the majority Republicans voting in favor and all five Democrats, who have said the legislation is designed to suppress voter turnout, in opposition.

The text of the bill limits voting to just one weekend day before an election, but under current state law, any election with state or federal candidates must allow voting on a Saturday, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Georgia Republicans have opposed Sunday voting since at least 2014, when DeKalb County (home to Atlanta) extended early voting to include the Sunday before Election Day. One polling location that year was at a popular local shopping mall.

“This location is dominated by African-American shoppers and it is near several large African-American mega churches such as New Birth Missionary Baptist, ” state Sen. Fran Millar (R) wrote candidly at the time, denigrating the relative ease of voting on Sundays as “Chicago politics” in DeKalb County. “Is it possible church buses will be used to transport people directly to the mall since the poll will open when the mall opens? If this happens, so much for the accepted principle of separation of church and state.”

Well, saying that this is a principled attempt to protect the separation of church and state is more plausible than saying that this is about voter fraud, give him that.

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