Georgia NAACP president resigns from state election task force | News
Georgia NAACP President James Woodall says he’s resigning from The Secretary of State’s election task force, telling CBS46 Raffensperger is using divisive politics and marring the nonpartisan group.
Woodall says his final straw was drawn this week when Georgia’s Secretary of State criticized Middle District Federal Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner for temporarily blocking a lawsuit that would have required more than 4,200 voters to vote provisionally because their residence is being challenged. Gardner is the sister of former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
“Seeing what’s happening now is just so disheartening and that’s why we made the decision to remove ourselves completely,” Woodall told CBS46’s Hayley Mason.
Raffensperger released a letter stating, “An Obama-appointed federal judge issued a ruling yesterday that undermined rule of law in Georgia. Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner of the Middle District of Georgia, sister of failed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.”
“What that lawsuit did was try to disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters regardless if they are Democrat, regardless if they are Republican, regardless if they were Black, White, Atlanta, metro, urban, it didn’t matter. Every single voter should be able to cast their ballot in a safe accessible manner,” Woodall said.
Raffensperger’s office asked the Georgia NAACP to join the task force that launched in late October along with more than a dozen other political leaders, election experts, state and local election officials, civil rights leaders and other non-partisan groups.
As things heated up, Raffensperger was criticized by fellow Republicans for certifying Joe Biden President-elect, but he was also lauded for debunking voter fraud claims from his own party.
Woodall says Raffensperger has also scrutinized groups like his for insinuations of line warming or giving food or gifts to voters while simultaneously pushing in a political message.
“In those task force meetings we had numerous conversations about the Secretary of State ensuring that one voters can show up to the polls in a safe way and they shouldn’t be challenged with possibly going to jail,” Woodall said.
Woodall says he fears the election head’s messaging is the precursor to voter suppression tactics soon to come.
“Once this election is over, the runoff election. The Secretary of State is going to be tasked with election reforms that could or could not impact our election process here in this state,” Woodall said. “We are deeply concerned that the actions the Secretary of State is currently taking and preparing to take in the General Assembly in proposal of new legislation will disenfranchise Georgia voters and enact voter suppression.”
Woodall says the committee has already discussed possible changes to signature audits under Raffensperger, and the vote by mail process.
The group was tasked to meet weekly with the goal of improving the election process in Georgia specifically with ballot access options, absentee ballot voting by mail or through drop box, and the three-week early voting process, and Election Day.