Civil rights advocates are objecting to a proposal to close about 75 percent of polling locations in a predominantly black south Georgia county.

The Randolph County elections board is scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss a proposal that would eliminate seven of nine polling locations in the county, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. Included in the proposed closures is Cuthbert Middle School where nearly 97 percent of voters are black.

“There is strong evidence that this was done with intent to make it harder for African Americans,” ACLU of Georgia attorney Sean Young said. The ACLU has sent a letter to the elections board demanding that the polling places remain open and has filed open records requests for information about the proposal to close the polling places.

The closure of polling places will affect those who lack reliable transportation, the ACLU says. Public transit doesn’t exist in much of the rural county, and 22 percent of the county’s residents have no car. People who currently vote at the polling places that would close under the proposal would have to travel an additional 10 miles to vote, the ACLU says.

With no car or bus to reach a different polling location, this predominantly black, Democratic county will not be able to fairly vote, ACLU of Georgia executive director Andrea Young said.

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