Right to vote challenged for Thunderbolt woman

THUNDERBOLT, Ga. – The American Civil Liberties Union has threatened to sue Chatham County after it says ‘threatening’ letters were sent to neighbors in Thunderbolt.

Jennifer Hill received one of those letters on July 17.  The letter, addressed from the Chatham County Board of Registrars, informed her, “the City of Thunderbolt has challenged your right to vote in their municipal election on November 7, 2017. The City of Thunderbolt states that you no longer reside within the municipality.”

Hill told WSAV she has lived with her wife in Thunderbolt for three years and says she has no idea why she received the letter.

“My initial reaction was, ‘What is this?’ followed by, ‘This isn’t right,” she said.

She says she knows of several other people in Thunderbolt who have also received the letter.

The letter goes on to say if a person is still living in their residence to contact the Clerk of Council for the City of Thunderbolt, Kay McCafferty, by August 30.

Hill says she received a phone call from McCafferty a few days after the letter arrived. She says McCafferty told her she has no idea why Hill received the letter.

After posting about the letter on Facebook, Hill received a message from the ACLU.

“The Chatham County Board didn’t even include a copy of the challenge or accusation that Thunderbolt had made against Miss Hill,” Georgia ACLU Legal Director Sean Young said.

The ACLU says the letter violates the National Voter Registration Act and says it has requested to obtain documents to see how many, if any, other people have received the letter in the town.

WSAV reached out to the county which said Hill has been removed from the list of voters up for discretion and said she was clear to vote.

Hill says she has heard from any government employee since receiving the letter last month.

“They’ve sent nothing saying it’s changed and when you send something like this they need to send something official afterward and say it’s been corrected,” Hill said.

On Tuesday the ACLU released a statement say it’s putting ‘Chatham County on Notice Over Threats to Purge Voters from Roll.” Purging happens when voters are taken off the voter registration which the ACLU says is a violation of the NVRA.

Young says he want to seek understanding but says if the county doesn’t correct its actions in 90 days they will “see them in court.”

WSAV repeatedly tried to ask the Clerk of Council for Thunderbolt why Hill was sent the letter and how many others were sent the letter but is still waiting on a response.

Hill is choosing to go forward with the ACLU to get an answer to her questions.

“But if this is something that’s going on elsewhere then I want to be a part of it because you can’t just sit and be safe when something like this is happening ’cause what’s the point,” she asked.

 

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