Man files civil rights lawsuit against Chatham County Board of Elections

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga.(WSAV) – In 1987, Samuel Scott was sentenced to life in prison for rape and kidnapping. After 15 years in prison, he was exonerated by DNA evidence and released in 2002.

He says now, he’s still being punished for a crime he didn’t commit.  

“What I was trying to do was help my community, because they said they needed poll workers. When I approached them to be a poll worker, they took about three weeks. They never responded,” Scott said to reporters at a news conference on Wednesday. 

Scott, who’s been able to vote legally in Georgia since 2006, says eventually, he called the Chatham County Board of Elections to find out why he hadn’t heard from them. He says they didn’t have a clear reason.

Scott’s attorney says eventually they got an answer.

“We had to write a letter to them, and ask why he had been turned down, and they wrote us back, simply, that his prior felony conviction stopped him from being a poll worker,” William Claiborne told reporters.

He says the board claimed to have no written policy to back up their denial of Scott. That’s why he and his client want a court to step in.

“If you’re going to take the step to deny someone their constitutional or their fundamental rights, then you need to have a very clear policy, and that policy has to pass strict scrutiny,” the attorney said.

Claiborne says the case aims not only to defend Samuel Scott’s civil rights but those of anyone whose rights have been legally restored after serving their sentence.

News 3 tried several times to reach Chatham County’s election supervisor, but he was not available Wednesday.

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