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Justice Department Files Voting Rights Suit in Georgia

May 16, 1962 - The Federal Government widened the scope of its battle against voter discrimination in the South today by filing its first suit challenging the use of segregated voting machines. The Justice Department filed an action against officials of Bibb County, Ga., in the U.S. District Court at Macon. It seeks a preliminary injunction forbidding voting officials either to segregate voting booths or to count white and Negro votes separately. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who announced the suit in Washington, said it was the first Government action challenging segregation in the actual physical conduct of elections. The complaint charged that Bibb County officials and the county’s Democratic executive committee were planning to require Negroes to vote at segregated places in the primary election to be held Sept. 12. There are 13 polling areas in Bibb County. In 10 of them whites and Negroes vote separately. Three rural precincts are integrated.

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