The recent closure of polling locations for not complying with the ADA in Georgia’s predominantly black Randolph County has stirred up voting rights advocates who fear the landmark disability rights law is being used as a tool to suppress minority voter participation nationwide. Major disability rights organizations in the state also opposed the directive because it shut down existing voting options rather than remedying the compliance issues. The elimination of polling locations was recommended by an outside consultant hired by the office of Georgia’s Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate for governor in the upcoming election.
Kemp raised eyebrows with a number of voter-registration and election operation changes following the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to overturn parts of the Voting Rights Act. As The New York Times reported in 2016, “Kemp, a Republican who has crusaded against what he called the threat of voter fraud, has investigated voter-registration drives by Asian American and predominantly black groups. A 2014 criminal inquiry into a group that had registered 85,000 new voters, many of them minorities, found problems with only 25 of the registrants, and no charges were filed.”