I was going to blog about Greg Palast's new revelations and about the latest development in Duvall county (via Body and Soul), and about a few other things (Kevin Drum via Vote Watch 2004), but when I was driving to work earlier this evening, I heard this story on NPR [realplayer], and it made me sick to my stomach for two hours. There's no text version to link to, but the summary blurb reads:
Three white residents in rural Georgia have challenged most Hispanic voter registrations in their precinct, charging they are fraudulent. Most of those challenged have already proven their legal status as voters, but one wants a public hearing.The only original news coverage in print is at WALB News, Albany, Georgia.
Ninety-eight letters were sent by the Board of Registrars to Hispanics registered to vote in Atkinson County. A version in both English and Spanish informs them of a challenge to their right to vote based on the fact that registered voters must be legal U.S. citizens.You have to listen to Pam Fessler's NPR piece to understand that that's ninety-eight Hispanics out of the county's 123. The Hispanic voter who wants a public hearing is Antonio Hernandez, who was born in Texas thirty years ago and has lived in Georgia for the last twenty. According to Frank Sutton (in the WALB story), one of the three who initiated the challenge to almost every Atkinson County hispanic voter,
We discovered quite accidentally that we had a lot of non-citizens registered to vote in Atkinson County.Pam Fessler reports that Sutton came into the office of the Election Superintendent and asked for the names of every Hispanic voter in the county. The Superintendent also explains that under Georgia law, any registered voter can challenge the legitimacy of any other voter if he or she believes there is a reason. These challenge rules were instituted in Georgia and in other states for the specific purpose of keeping Black voters from the polls. And what was Sutton's "reason" for challenging the registrations of as many Hispanic voters as he could? Here's Sutton, verbatim from Fessler's report:
We're contesting these because of a deep belief on my part that citizens of the United States are the ones that people have died for to give us the right to vote. That's the reason that we're contestin' these people that we feel the vast majority of 'em are not citizens of the United States.That's right, Frank Sutton is contesting the right of US citizens to vote wholly on the basis of their ethnicity—a practice of selection also known as racial profiling. This white, southern man, who appears old enough to have fully enjoyed the benefits of segregation, uses racial profiling and Jim Crow tactics to keep Hispanics from voting, all in the name of the Southern Freedom Movement.
You call that civil rights?
You call that civil rights?
Scandalize my name.
photo: Frank Sutton on streamed video, WALB News, Channel 10, Albany Georgia.