Dougherty Co. Black Voters Matter group cleared of 2020 illegal campaigning

Dougherty Co. Black Voters Matter group cleared of 2020 illegal campaigning
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 6:20 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A Dougherty County Black Voters Matter group is reacting Wednesday to a ruling that cleared them of illegal campaigning in 2020.

Those allegations made headlines around the country. Group members said the group deserves an apology.

Back in 2020, the group was accused of illegally campaigning outside of the Candy Room in downtown Albany. Group members said this ruling has exposed a lot of flaws when it comes to voting in southwest Georgia.

“I think it just has more to do with kind of the society and mindset in general about what it means for African-Americans to, in mass, participate in voting,” Albany City Commissioner Demetrius Young, said. “That makes a lot of folks nervous. That was kind of caused by the mass participation in the 2020 elections. But it definitely should not be an issue because you see Black people in black t-shirts that say ‘Black Voters Matter’ that it becomes some type of intimidation or threat.”

The group said a woman waiting in the line grew anxious about why they were there. And now that woman, who testified at Tuesday’s election board hearing, is being investigated for bringing a gun into a polling place.

Kiana Jackson is a former Black Voters Matter employee.

“This is the type of aggression that we are met with. But the white woman who pulled the gun was never met with any of that aggression,” Jackson said. “And that was because of the 2020 election and the climate and being right after the summer of George Floyd protests. That is 100% unacceptable.”

Jackson said while they are glad to be relieved of all the charges, this situation has exposed many faults when it comes to voting in Southwest Georgia.

“Senate Bill 202 basically smacks everything that we feel supports voting, supports people exercising their right to vote, supports just making it normal and a celebrated thing for people to do their civic duty,” Young said.

Jackson said she’d like to see city and county officials held accountable for their actions on that day.

“We need apologies from people on the board of elections. We need public accountability for their behavior on that day,” she said.