Letter To The Editor: Something is rotten in our elections

Published 4:11 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Dear Editor,

We, the Troup County Coalition for Change, are writing to you to make you aware of issues observed in Troup County during the November 2018 General Election. The coalition was formed for the purpose of addressing voting issues and other issues in Troup County. The coalition is made up of representatives from the Troup County NAACP, Troup ACTS, Troup Coalition and the Troup County Democratic Committee. Here is a timeline on some of the issues we’ve encountered:

Nov. 6, 2018 – Election Day. Pat Darden, Chair of the Troup County Democratic Committee, received numerous notices from poll watchers about people being sent to other precincts, high volumes of provisional ballots, and other issues. For the next few days, she spent time contacting people who had left their names and phone numbers with poll watchers. After that, Montest Cameron of the Troup County Coalition began to talk to others who had experienced problems voting. We followed up with each person on the list. The Voter Protection hotline was contacted about everyone we talked to.

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Nov. 12, 2018 – Pat Darden went to the Board of Elections Office to request an absentee ballot for the upcoming runoff election. While there, she asked to be put on the agenda for the Nov. 15 Board of Elections meeting. She spoke to the registrar and later emailed him for documentation. He never replied to her request.

Nov. 15, 2018 – Troup County Board of Elections Meeting. Several concerned citizens attended the meeting of the Board of Elections. Darden was not on the agenda. When she asked why, she was first chided for speaking at this meeting (there is no opportunity for citizen comment or questions at this meeting). Finally, a motion was made to let Darden speak, and a vote passed. When she spoke, she listed many issues that were observed on election day. The registrar took minutes and made notes about each issue and question. No response has been received.

Jan. 17, 2019 – After the Dec. 20 meeting was canceled, there was no discussion about election issues at the January meeting. The Feb. 21 meeting was also canceled.

Feb. 26, 2019 – Troup County Coalition for Change joined together in an email to the registrar. In this email, we listed many of the issues which were observed in November and many of the questions asked at the board meeting in November. The email was received by the registrar, and Darden was notified that it had been forwarded to the board members.

March 5, 2019 – After receiving no response, we sent another email asking that a response be made by March 12. This email was received and forwarded again. Darden received a response from the chair of the board that they are putting these issues on the agenda for the March 21 meeting for discussion.

March 12, 2019 – Requested response date. As of this date, we have received no plans for improvement or answers to questions asked in November and we are writing to inform the public of this.

Voter suppression is real. It happens in Georgia and it happens in Troup County. There was a very high rate of provisional ballots issued in Troup County. Over 600 were issued and very few of those votes were accepted and counted. All of our votes should count! Signed by the Troup County Coalition for Change, made up of:

Montest Cameron, Chair,

Troup County Coalition

Pat Darden,

Chair, Troup County Democratic Committee

Dr. Deborah Holloway,

President, Troup County Chapter of NAACP

Ernest Ward, Co-Chair, Troup ACTS