“No one with power is listening”

An illuminating CNN report on the attacks on minority political power that are occurring, especially at the local level, now that Section 5 is no longer operative. I wrote about these dynamics in this article in Shelby County’s aftermath.

Nicole Love Hendrickson made Georgia history last year, becoming the first Black woman elected chair of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners.

But under a bill that a Republican legislator has pledged to advance in the Georgia General Assembly early next year, Hendrickson would be stripped of most of her voting powers and the board reconfigured after Democrats of color occupied all five seats this year in a county that had once been a Republican stronghold.

“The optics are just very obvious,” Hendrickson told CNN. “It’s a perception that there’s a loss of control for Republicans, and we have people of color who are assuming leadership roles and now you are trying to take that power away.”

The expected legislative battle over the future of Gwinnett’s county board is just one of the fights flaring up at the local level as officials redraw electoral maps and work at cementing political power, following the 2020 Census. Voting rights activists are sounding alarms about what they say is a broad effort to dilute the voting strength of people of color and sideline the Black elected officials across the South who have made inroads into local government in recent decades.

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