Georgia State Rep. Barry Fleming is cosponsoring a bill, among the 250 voter restriction proposals pending across 43 states, in order to restrict access to voting. Until last week, Fleming was also serving as county attorney in Hancock County, where 7 of 10 residents are black, and where residents will cast ballots through the end of the year under a court-appointed examiner after the county election board because of previous voter restrictions. Previously, there were many voters removed from the rolls, most of the voters were Black.
Fleming’s recent efforts to limit voting access in the state of Georgia has angered some Hancock County residents. “So many people in the county didn’t know he was the attorney. Now, some Blacks in the community who … have an understanding of things are infuriated,” said Johnny Thornton, who helped launch the federal lawsuit after the Board of Elections and Registration scrubbed Thornton from the voting rolls in 2015.
“We’re one of the poorest counties in the country, and we’re paying this attorney and he’s in Atlanta creating laws to further restrict our voting rights,” he said.
Forty protesters were at the County Board of Commissions and the Board went into a closed executive session. The commissioners decided to ask Fleming to step down, although minutes of the Board did not reflect the hour long discussion while in closed executive session. “I don’t think it needs discussion,” Commissioner Ted Reid, who was in the session, told CNN. “Mr. Fleming was asked to resign by unanimous consent.” The minutes only say “Unanimous consent by Commissioners to ask Mr. Fleming for resignation,” and add that “while the search for county attorney services is in process,” any legal matters will be addressed by a partner from Fleming’s law firm outside Augusta.