FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BREAKING: Federal Court Rules Against Georgia Voters in Georgia Secretary of State’s Appeal of PSC Elections
Atlanta, GA – November 28th, 2023 — Georgia Conservation Voters (GCV) announces its strong opposition to the recent federal appeals court ruling that permits Georgia’s public service commissioner elections to persist in an “at-large” format rather than being conducted by the district.
In a decision that has far-reaching implications for the democratic process in the state, the 11th Circuit judges who presided over this case have chosen to ignore precedent and issue an opinion that largely relies on testimony from a commissioner who benefits from the electoral scheme that disproportionately dilutes the Black vote. By allowing public service commissioner elections to remain at large, the court perpetuates the historical disenfranchisement of minority communities who bear the brunt of high utility bills caused by a commission that cannot be held accountable by Black voters.
GCV firmly believes in the importance of fair and equitable representation for all citizens, regardless of their racial or ethnic background. The decision to uphold at-large elections for public service commissioners in Georgia raises severe concerns about the integrity of our electoral system and the protection of every citizen’s right to vote.
“This ruling is another act of continuing discrimination against Black voters in Georgia,” Brionte McCorkle, the Executive Director of Georgia Conservation Voters and one of four plaintiffs, said in a statement. “It denies fair representation not just for black voters but for all Georgians. Voters should be able to vote for a public service commissioner that is responsive to their unique needs and represents their community. Instead, millions of voters are disenfranchised to maintain outdated and unfair electoral practices.”
In its ruling, the 11th Circuit judges assert that Congress cannot force the State of Georgia to use districts for the PSC. However, there is abundant precedent for doing so in Voting Rights Act cases that deal with vote dilution at city and county levels.
Plaintiffs are exploring and will pursue all possible legal, regulatory, and policy actions to address the lack of representation on the Georgia Public Service Commission.
GCV calls on lawmakers, community leaders, and citizens to join in advocating for electoral reforms promoting inclusivity and equal representation. The organization is committed to working with partners and stakeholders to address the systemic issues contributing to the marginalization of specific communities in the electoral process.
The full ruling can be found HERE.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Christian Emile Dacus
Georgia Conservation Voters
About Georgia Conservation Voters:
Georgia Conservation Voters is a non-partisan organization that advocates for public policies that advance a more just and sustainable future, mobilizes voters who prioritize climate and environmental justice, and holds elected officials accountable for their actions and votes. We believe all Georgians have the right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, eat healthy foods, and live in a world without environmental harm. GCV envisions a future where Georgia’s elected leaders are informed and empowered to take action to advance climate and environmental justice.