A Georgia state senator used his Facebook page Sept. 9 to speak out against a plan to allow early voting in an area of Georgia with a high population of African Americans.

Jovan Steele

“I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters,” wrote Republican Sen. Fran Millar. “Now we are to have Sunday voting at South DeKalb Mall just prior to the election…this location is dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches such as New Birth Missionary Baptist.”

Millar continued: “Is it possible church buses will be used to transport people directly to the mall since the poll will open when the mall opens? If this happens, so much for the accepted principle of separation of church and state.”

He said he would speak to Republican Rep. Mike Jacobs about eliminating what he called an election loophole.

In an e-mail interview, Bryan Long, executive director of the progressive group Better Georgia, said Millar very well could follow through with the actions he outlined in the posting. Republicans hold a supermajority in Georgia, he noted, and have already cut 24 early voting days from the calendar.

“He can certainly make the threat and during the next legislative session in January, he’ll have the opportunity to introduce a bill to restrict voting access,” Long said. “Whether or not that bill goes anywhere will be up Georgia’s elected officials.”

Millar’s statements were shameful, Long added, and the fact that the GOP lawmaker felt comfortable making them is disturbing.

“Elected officials like Governor Deal, who bragged about fighting against the Voting Rights Act and refused to support Wilcox County’s first integrated prom, have created an environment in which some elected officials think that these backwards ideas are OK,” he said.

Long said his group has launched an online petition that allows Georgians to tell their legislators to condemn Millar’s statement.

Calls to Millar’s office for comment were not returned.