The breach of the Coffee County elections office can seem almost out of place in the 97-page Georgia indictment of former President Donald Trump and associates.
The sprawling racketeering allegations spread from centers of power with pressure on the vice president to ignore the Constitution, reported calls to secretaries of state to change vote counts, and the creation of slates of fake electors for Congress. They also include the invitation of a tech team to a non-public area of a small-town administration building.
But to some people in Coffee County, deep in southern Georgia and far from interstates, the alleged crimes were merely the latest chapter in a local history of failing to secure the rights and votes of residents. And they worry it’s a history that will repeat.
Among the 19 mugshots that flowed from the charges brought 200 miles north in Atlanta were faces that were familiar in Douglas, the seat of Coffee County.
Prosecutors allege that former county Republican Party chair Cathy Latham and former elections supervisor Misty Hampton helped to facilitate employees from a firm hired by Trump attorneys to access and copy sensitive voter data and election software. Surveillance video captured Latham waving the visitors inside, and Hampton in the office as they allegedly accessed the data. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Mike Clark, owner of some small businesses in Douglas, said he was struck by the way the surveillance footage showed the election officials entering the building in broad daylight. “You walk inside the voter registration office with no mask on, and they just give you the votes. They just give them to you! Why? Why would that be?” Clark said. “That shows you right there it ain’t just started. It’s always been just like that.” [Continue reading…]