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June 19, 2016

Media contacts:
Moné Holder, mone@newfloridamajority.org, 904-224-0632
press@newfloridamajority,org

Jacksonville’s Black Community Once Again Denied Their Voting Rights

Recent decision by Judge Richard Townsend continues region’s disgraceful legacy of voter suppression.

Moné Holder, Legislative & Policy Director & North Regional Director of New Florida Majority, released the following statement in reaction to Judge Richard Townsend’s dismissal of a lawsuit seeking to open up this year’s state attorney primary election.

Whether he intended it or not, Judge Richard Townsend has ruled on the side of voter suppression and failed to support the rights of voters, especially black citizens. As it stands, at least 440,000 non-Republicans, including 96 percent of Black voters will not be able to cast a vote this summer in the primary for State Attorney in the 4th Judicial Circuit (Duval, Clay and Nassau counties). This means that more than 167,000 African American registered as Democrats and Independents in these three counties will be voiceless.

This decision is not unprecedented. The city of Jacksonville has a history of voter suppression. This decision by Judge Townsend cements another sad chapter in the disgraceful legacy of black disenfranchisement.

We understand that this is not the end and that this case will likely to be appealed up to the Florida Supreme Court. Perhaps those Justices will do the right thing and ensure that a sham candidacy is not allowed to disenfranchise voters. Elections should be free, fair and accessible regardless of race or party affiliation. The notion that a few will decide for the many is in no way the definition of a democracy.

The truth remains that in order to restore the fundamental right to vote to all registered voters in the 4th judicial circuit, we continue to demand that Kenny Leigh withdraw from the race.

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