Georgia Lawmaker Forced To Resign As County Attorney After Cosponsoring Bill That Restricts Voting Access

Georgia State Rep. Barry Fleming has been asked to resign as a county attorney after co-sponsoring a bill restricting voting access in Georgia.

Fleming, a Republican, served as county attorney in Hancock County, where 7 of 10 residents are Black. Hancock county’s election board was accused in a federal lawsuit of unfairly removing voters — most of them Black — from the rolls.

“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,” Johnny Thornton said. “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.”

House Bill 531 restricts voting access by limiting ballot drop boxes, absentee voting, and Sunday early voting. 97 House Republicans approved the bill. Many commissioners did not understand why Fleming would cosponsor the bill when the majority of the community he represents is Black.

“I don’t think it needs discussion,” Commissioner Ted Reid said. “Mr. Fleming was asked to resign by unanimous consent.”

“Hancock County is a great place,” Fleming said. “There’s a great Board of Commissioners there. I enjoyed working with them for, I think, nine years, and I only wish them the best.”

Speaking to the lawmaker after a closed-door session on election bills, WXIA reported Fleming said he felt no animus toward the county.
“None whatsoever. They’re good people, and if I could ever do anything in the future to help them, I’d be happy to do it,” he said.

House Bill 531 is pending in the state Senate Ethics Committee following a Tuesday hearing.

About RavenH

Raven Haywood is a journalist for 10+ years. Graduate from Howard University.

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