Lawsuit: Georgia Public Service Commission Elections Purges Black Voters

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[Georgia Public Service Commission]
AJC: "At-large voting denies Black voters an opportunity to elect their preferred candidates, according to the lawsuit."
Photo: National Network Assembly

Wanda Mosley, and her group Black Voters Matter, are plaintiffs in a lawsuit which states Black voters are left out of elections for the Georgia Public Service Commission.

A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges that statewide elections to the Georgia Public Service Commission illegally leaves out Black voters, resulting in an all-white board that regulates rates for power, natural gas and phone companies.

The lawsuit asks a judge to eliminate at-large elections for the Public Service Commission, whose five members are white Republicans. The only Black commissioner to ever serve on the PSC was appointed by Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes in 1999 and was then defeated after serving a six-year term.

At-large voting denies Black voters an opportunity to elect their preferred candidates, according to the lawsuit. About 30% of Georgia voters identified themselves as Black when they registered, but they’re always outnumbered by the state’s majority-white voting population in statewide elections.

“These folks deserve to have their votes count and have the same weight as everybody else in the state,” said Wanda Mosley, a plaintiff in the lawsuit and a senior coordinator for Black Voters Matter, a voting rights group. “This current system is steeped with biases that prevent Black voters from having an opportunity to elect someone who will govern with their best interests in mind.”

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