‘Democracy’ in Georgia
Published Nov 17, 2005 11:14 PM
Your readers might be interested in still another example
of how voter suppression and denial of voting rights occur.
Ga., is a small port city on the Atlantic Ocean of about 17,000 people, some 70
percent African-American, who are mostly poor. Just across the marsh are St.
Simon’s Island and Sea Island, where the G-8 summit was held in the summer
of 2004. Both islands are home to some of the wealthiest people in the U.S.,
particularly Sea Island, which is a privately owned resort.
former chair of the Black Panther Party, moved to Brunswick in the fall of 2004
after participating in the protest activities earlier that year at the summit.
There has never been a Black mayor in Brunswick. Although the port creates
enormous wealth, conditions for the majority of the residents are
appalling—low wages, deteriorating housing, few social services, polluted
water and air, etc.
Brown decided to run for mayor and conducted a
grass-roots, door-to-door campaign, explaining her campaign platform of
channeling the resources of the city into raising the standard of living for the
majority. She especially opposed a multi-billion-dollar
“improvement” plan, backed by Sea Island Corp. and other monied
interests, to tear down the entire Black community in the downtown area and
build expensive condominiums, apartments and houses. Over 400 volunteers
canvassed the neighborhoods. Brown spoke at more than 70 churches. Discussions
were held in bars, neighborhood centers, and on porches about what the community
Just weeks before the Nov. 8 election, two people came forward to
challenge her residency in Brunswick: a white businessman, friend of the current
mayor, and a poor African-American woman. Neither of them had ever met Elaine
Brown and said they didn’t know each other, yet both were represented
before the Election Commission by the same high-priced lawyer.
County Board of Elections decided that Brown had not lived in Brunswick for a
full year, even though she had registered to vote on Nov. 4, 2004, at her
Brown’s name was removed from the ballot. The
board ordered that any write-in votes would not be counted.
A week later
an appeals judge sustained the disqualification without comment.
Nov. 7, one day before the election, a federal judge ruled that write-in votes
for Brown would be counted.
The next day, the election was held in
Brunswick, Ga. There was a low voter turnout. Brian Thomas, the Sea Island
candidate and proponent of the “redevelopment plan,” won.
is what “democracy” looks like in south Georgia.
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