Purge of Nuwaubians from voter
Group's attorney planning appeal to get members back on
The Macon Telegraph, June 23, 2000
By Rob Peecher
EATONTON - The Putnam County Board of Registrars began
disqualifying members of the United Nuwaubian Nation of
Moors from voter rolls despite testimony and evidence
presented by some of those people during a hearing Wednesday
The hearing continued into the night, but at The Macon
Telegraph's deadline Wednesday, six of the 91 people
subpoenaed to prove their residency had been removed from
the voter list.
Three of those six did not attend the hearing. The other
three attended, swore an oath that their testimony would be
true, and presented at least some documentation that they
lived at the address they claimed on voter registration
An attorney representing several of the Nuwaubians, Merrick
Bernstein of Atlanta, raised questions and objected when the
board voted to purge some of his clients without stating a
Trenton Brown III, a board of registrars member who was
conducting the hearing, threatened to have Bernstein removed
from the courtroom if he continued to ask questions.
"There will be absolutely no more questions from that side
of the bar," Brown said.
The board continued one man's case, because he did not bring
the documents required by the subpoena he received.
Last week, the board of registrars held the first in a
series of hearings to determine if people who do not live in
Putnam County have been registering to vote here. At that
hearing, 23 people were purged from the voter list, three
were kept on the voter rolls, and another 91 cases were
continued to Wednesday's hearing.
Of those 91, 45 people attended last week's hearing and
refused to take an oath and testify before the board, and
another 46 simply did not attend. Nearly three hours into
Wednesday's hearing, the majority of those 91 cases had yet
to be called. Unlike last week's meeting, those called
Wednesday agreed to take the oath that the evidence they
presented and the testimony they gave would be true.
Questions about the status of the 91 voters and as many as
200 more were raised after Putnam County Registrar Marianne
Tanner received several voter registration cards on the same
day giving addresses as 173 Shady Dale Road. Tanner knew
there were several people already registered to vote at that
address and began going through the voter rolls. She
determined 58 people were registered to vote at one of four
addresses in addition to the 35 registered to vote at 173
Shady Dale Road, where there are three trailers and a house.
Most, but not all, of the voters whose status is being
challenged by the board of registrars are people affiliated
with the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors.
At least two more hearings are expected to be held in
upcoming weeks. Elections investigators from the Secretary
of State's Office have attended both hearings so far.
In the cases of the 23 purged during last week's hearing,
Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills found evidence that they
had registered to vote in Putnam County and had since
obtained driver's licenses using out-of-county addresses.
That evidence was used to purge those people from the voter
Late events from Wednesday night's hearing will be included
in Friday's Telegraph.