HANCOCK COUNTY, Ga. — The state lawmaker behind one of the big controversial election bills lost his job in Hancock County Wednesday – because of the bill.
Republican State Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem) sponsored an election bill that passed the House last week. He lost his job as the county attorney following a protest.
It's a story from a rural Georgia county that conflates opposing political buzzwords – voter suppression, from the left, and cancel culture from the right.
This protest in front of the Hancock County courthouse in Sparta Wednesday was rife with criticism of Republican election legislation – with accusations of voter suppression.
"It’s intentionally set forth to decrease the (election) turnout in the African American community," said Adrick Ingram, a Hancock County resident speaking to WMAZ-TV in Macon.
The protests targeted a controversial election bill that shortens weekend early voting, and limits absentee ballot drop boxes, among other things.
And it targeted the bill’s sponsor.
Fleming is a ten-term lawmaker. To his critics, he’s become a voter suppression villain, while Republicans view him as a workhorse for voter security.
When he’s away from the capitol, Fleming is also the county attorney for Hancock County’s board of commissioners -- in a county where Democrat Joe Biden won 72 percent of the vote in 2020.
"We want him fired," Ingram said Wednesday.
Shortly after protest, the Hancock County board of commissioners asked Fleming to resign – and he did.
"Hancock County is a great place. There’s a great board of commissioners there. I enjoyed working with them for, I think, nine years. I only wish them the best," Fleming told 11Alive News Thursday.
Fleming told us he had no objection to his forced departure – or even the political reasons behind it.
"None whatsoever. They’re good people. If I can ever do anything in the future to help them I’ll be happy to," Fleming said.
He added that he thinks many protesters against his election bill "misunderstand" many of its controversial components.