FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2022
Contact: Abraham Park, Georgia Conservation Voters, firstname.lastname@example.org, 313-509-8263; Brionté McCorkle can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 478-919-5326.
BREAKING: Federal Court rules Georgia PSC Elections violate Voting Rights Act
Atlanta, Georgia — A federal court ruled this morning that elections for the Georgia Public Service Commission violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by diluting the votes of Black citizens. The ruling blocks the Secretary of State from holding elections for Public Service Commission Districts 2 and 3 this November.
The ruling orders the general assembly to redesign the election but it can no longer use the at-large method. The next election will be scheduled after the state’s remedy is approved by the court.
“This is a historic moment for Georgia elections,” said Georgia Conservation Voters’s Executive Director Brionté McCorkle. “At long last, voters across the state will have an opportunity to vote for a Public Service Commissioner that will truly be responsive to their needs. Black voters will no longer be ignored and have their concerns about clean energy, pollution, and high power bills drowned out because of unfair archaic laws.”
The Georgia Public Service Commission is made up of five commissioners that serve six year terms and regulate utilities across the state. Despite an African American population of over 30% in Georgia, there have only ever been two Black Public Service Commissioners in its 143 year history, both of whom were initially appointed by the Governor.
We are thrilled that the voices of the plaintiffs have been heard. For decades, black voters in Georgia have been denied representation on the Commission. This ruling will help end decades of racism and finally gives black voters the opportunity to elect Public Service Commissioners that prioritize clean energy, equitable power bills, and environmental justice.
The Commissioners that were up for reelection this year were District 2 incumbent Tim Echols and District 3 incumbent Fitz Johnson.
The full ruling can be found at https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/22127490-ga-psc-lawsuit-order.
For more information on the lawsuit, you can visit https://www.gcvoters.org/legal-action/.
About Georgia Conservation Voters
Georgia Conservation Voters’ mission is to advocate for public policies that advance a more just and sustainable future, campaign for candidates who will make climate and environmental justice a priority, and hold elected officials accountable for their actions and votes. For more information, visit www.gcvoters.org