Meriwether County’s NAACP Pushes To Expose Suspected Irregularities In Election Process.
TPV NEWS STAFF
Meriwether County, Georgia
After receiving a flood of complaints from citizens and voters, Meriwether County’s NAACP President, Shirley Grier Hines is pushing hard to discover exactly what went on during Meriwether County’s Primary and run-off elections of July 15, and August 5.
After weeks of personally investigating the complaints and collecting data from citizens and voters, Hines is convinced that further investigation is now warranted by the Georgia Secretary of State and the Federal government on behalf of the citizens in District 1 and 2, which she requested in a formal letter of complaint to Georgia Secretary of State Karen C. Handel.
Hines said “I believe there is enough there, to raise suspicion about the whole process. The allegations seem to fall into three major categoreis: Voter Intimidation, Voter Suppression, and Election Irregularities.”
Of particular concern are several issues related to Charlie Glanton, one of two black candidates who ran for county commission seats in District 2, one of Meriwether County’s majority black districts. In an extensive document Hines described a suspicious mail delivery incident, that she does not believe is coincidental. “A group of Mr. Glanton’s supporters mailed out approximately 800 fliers to African American registered voters in District 2. More than 200 were returned undelivered from the city of Greenville. I have the 200 returned fliers in my possession at this time” she writes in the complaint.
Glanton’s written complaint is included among others Hines is using to push for the investigation.
(Early Voting and absentee Balloting)
Among documents used to support the call for an investigation, are letters from citizens claiming, something went wrong with the early voting and absentee balloting process. Several citizens were unable to do early voting on July 28, 2008. Ms. Patty Threadgill, the election supervisor, stated that her office did not have ballots. The earliest most citizens were able to vote was Wednesday July 30, 2008.
Some citizens requested absentee ballots as early as July 17, 2008, however, they did not receive their absentee ballots until August 1.
During the election there were at least two citizens told they had been disqualified because of felony convictions. They were not allowed to cast a regular ballot, but instead directed to cast a “provisional” ballot. Prior to the election days these citizens served on jury duty, and enjoyed other civil rights and privileges. Later, they received letters from Ms. Threadgill, advising them that they were in fact qualified to vote in the primary election and their votes did count. One letter in particular advised the voter that his vote did count in the Senate race, but did not count in the local race for County Commission District I.
Another citizen was stymied by an abrupt and arbitrary switch that resulted in a change in his voting District. “On February 3, 2008 he was in District 2. Then in March, he was arbitrarily switched over to District 1. His house has not moved, the district lines have not moved. How does a voter get switched out of one district and into another without some explanation of why?”
Hines asserts, “I do not believe all of these allegations put together can be dismissed without raising serious concerns about the fairness of the election process in Meriwether County. These incidents are not coincidental, and they warrant an indepth investigation by your office, and corrective action.”
The Meriwether County Branch of the NAACP is requesting an immediate investigation into the Meriwether County elections, and if warranted an election re-call in order to insure that all citizens have a fair opportunity to participate in the political process in this county.