Wednesday, Georgia State Representative, Barry Fleming was fired as the Randolph County attorney because he is sponsoring House Bill 531. The news was first reported by Georgia Public Broadcasting.
HB 531 It would make a number of changes to Georgia’s voting laws, including requiring identification for people voting by mail, limiting drop boxes, and changing early voting hours to prohibit Georgia’s population centers from offering as many weekend voting options.
Johnny Thornton, a retired DEA agent, was one of the four Hancock County commissioners that voted to oust Fleming.
“He’s been part of strategic voter suppression, but this year he went all the way over the top with this House bill that he introduced,” Thornton said. “Your attorney is supposed to be an advocate, not an adversary. You can’t advocate for me and vote to suppress me at the same time.”
In 2015, Fleming supported a move to purge voters from the rolls in Sparta. He also penned an op-ed to The Augusta Chronicle last November referring to mail-in absentee ballots “always-suspect” and likened them to “the shady part of town down near the docks you do not want to wander into because the chance of being shanghaied is significant.”
Hancock County’s population is 71% African-American.
“We might not be taking a lot of money out of his pocket, but it’s sure going to embarrass the hell out of him to say ‘your ass has been fired,'” he said. “That type of leverage will make some of these other state representatives in some of these rural towns say, ‘Wait a minute.'”
County Coroner Adrick Ingram, told WMAZ-TV that he wanted Fleming fired because of the bill.
“It’s intentionally set forth to decrease the (election) turnout in the African American community,” Ingram said.