FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Adam Sweat,
Maybe This Time Will be the Charm – There’s Still No Voter Fraud, Says Election Administration Group
May 26, 2021 (ATLANTA, GA) – Following news that a Georgia superior court judge has allowed a group that claimed fraud in the 2020 presidential election to unseal and evaluate Fulton County absentee ballots, Georgia Votes’ Election Administration Workgroup vehemently objects to this belated attempt to undermine the integrity of the state’s election process. The group, which turned its attention to voter education in the wake of Governor Kemp signing SB 202 into law, sees this latest effort as yet another effort to discourage and disenfranchise Georgia’s most vulnerable residents.
“More than six months has passed since the presidential election,” says Susannah Scott, President of the League of Women Voters of Georgia, “and the idea that Georgia votes are being reviewed – yet again – is absolutely mind boggling.” As the Coalition mobilizes to get voters registered to vote ahead of the 2021 municipal elections, they’re convinced that this ballot review is yet another form of voter suppression and are concerned that this latest news will be seen as another hurdle people have to clear in order to have their voices heard and their votes counted.
“The latest ruling is proof positive of the damaging effects of SB 202, giving even greater, unwarranted credence to people who want to question the validity of our election process. It’s also further evidence that national, partisan attempts to undermine the outcome of the 2020 election are spreading like wildfire,” said Helen Buter, Executive Director for the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda. “We’re on the side of voters here, and we understand what makes people rightfully skeptical about everything going on. We remain optimistic, however, that people are becoming skeptical of the people leading these mass lobbying efforts to hurl false complaints about electoral impropriety, and not the process itself.”
With legal challenges to the state’s new voter suppression laws underway and voter education efforts ramping up, the Election Administration Coalition has a clear message: “People know the power they wield when they get active and stay engaged,” said Malika Redmond, Executive Director of Women Engaged. “We made history this last election cycle, and the momentum is only building. Foolish claims like these only give us more fuel to light our fire – we will connect Georgia voters to the elections process and help make sure their voices and votes matter and are heard.”
About Georgia Votes
Georgia Votes is a group of non-profit, non-partisan organizations working to uphold safe and fair elections in Georgia. The Election Administration Workgroup includes: League of Women Voters Georgia
Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum- GA Chapter.
By Helen Butler, Executive Director, The People’s Agenda
This year’s legislative session has brought with it many twists and turns. On the heels of record turnout during our General and U.S. Senate Runoffs, and following the January 6th insurrection on Capitol Hill, members of our state legislature sought to totally upend the democratic process in Georgia. After a slew of voter suppression bills aimed at limiting access to the ballot passed along partisan lines, Governor Brian Kemp recently signed into law an omnibus bill that rolls back voting rights, especially for the most underrepresented and vulnerable members of our communities.
It’s hard to believe that in 2021 we find ourselves on the front lines of a battle against Jim Crow-era like restrictions. Given the massive turnout by voters of color and traditionally “hard to count” residents of our state, however, it’s sadly not a surprise. But, despite the odds against us, we remain undeterred and more committed than ever to make sure we have a fully functioning, equitable and participatory democracy at work in this state. Instead of making it harder to vote, we fervently believe that now is the time to make engaging in the civic process easier for Georgia residents.
The people of this great state, especially New Americans and people of color, have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, by November of last year, Black Georgians had filed 71% more continued jobless claims than white, Asian and Hispanic/Latinx residents combined. The dramatic increase in anti-Asian hate nationwide hit us particularly hard when just weeks ago six Asian women were brutally murdered at Atlanta-areas spas in senseless acts of violence and cowardice. And Latino members of our communities, many of whom are classified as “essential workers” account for nearly one-quarter (21%) of active COVID cases around the state. The social and economic consequences of the pandemic are very real, and in times like this, our elected leaders must reflect the needs and values of the communities they represent. Unfortunately, partisan politics has taken precedence over the needs of real people and the new voting laws we now face will make it harder for significant portions of our communities to actively participate in electoral politics.
Contrary to what their proponents claim, these laws do nothing to protect the electoral process and, instead, do everything to reduce voting options for everyday Georgia residents, especially members of our historically underserved and underrepresented communities. The most egregious of laws restricts voting by mail (absentee voting), shortens the time frames to conduct runoff elections, increases voter identification requirements, reduces the presence of dropboxes in communities, and wrests control of elections administration from local elections officials. The power grab at play serves to do little more than complicate our elections process and further disconnects people from participating fully in our representative democracy. Yet and still, we persist.
Lawsuits are already underway challenging these mass attempts at voter suppression. And while we disavow any legislation that disadvantages or disenfranchises Georgia voters, we are prepared to meet this moment. Our job, as organizers and community advocates, is to make sure that Georgia voters are well apprised of the impact of these new rules and that they are adequately prepared to register and turn out the vote in future elections. Georgia voters deserve to be full participants in our democratic society, and where legislation has failed to make their participation easier, organizations like ours stand on the front lines ready to help people better connect with the electoral process.
Faced with the most egregious attack on voting rights our state has seen in at least two generations, we are encouraging people to stay vigilant and aware. We understand that there is so much that life is throwing our way at this moment, but we want people to remain optimistic, hopeful, and engaged. If our voices and votes didn’t matter so much no one would actively try to suppress them. We know that the road ahead may not be easy, but we are determined to help our state’s democracy live up to expectations. Our voices matter and our votes will count. 2020 turnout was just the beginning. We are forging ahead with an even deeper focus and stronger sense of purpose. Together, we intend to set in motion a wave of civic engagement the likes of which this state has never seen before.
- The People’s Agenda
- League of Women Voters of Georgia
- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
- Women Watch Afrika
- Feminist Women’s Health Center
- Georgia STAND-UP
- Georgia Equality
- Rep GA Institute Inc.
- Step Up Savannah
- GALEO Latino Community Development Fund
- GALEO Impact Fund, Inc.
- Women Engaged
- 9to5 Georgia
- Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates
- ACLU of Georgia
- Care in Action
- Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS)
- Progress Georgia
- New Georgia Project
- Partnership for Southern Equity
- All Voting is Local, Georgia
- Black Voters Matter Fund
- Atlanta Jobs with Justice
- Georgia WAND Education Fund
- Environment Georgia
- Georgia Budget and Policy Institute
- Georgia NAACP
- Georgia Muslim Voter Project
- Common Cause GA
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta
- McIntosh SEED
- National Domestic Workers Alliance-Georgia
- Faith in Public Life
- New American Pathways
- National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
- Georgia Conservation Voters
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Adam Sweat,
Voting Rights Advocates Primed to Continue Battle Against Voter Suppression
April 1, 2021 (ATLANTA, GA) – Since the legislative session began on January 11th, Republican members of both the state House and Senate have aggressively pursued an agenda to fundamentally change voting rights in the state of Georgia. With more than twelve bills successfully passed, including the omnibus Senate Bill 202 which has totally upended elections administration in the state, there was a clear pattern at play: the most vulnerable residents of our state are being inappropriately targeted by voter suppression laws, says the Election Administration Coalition.
“Georgia voters proved this election cycle that when voting is made more convenient and accessible, they are willing and able to fully participate in the process,” said Helen Butler, Executive Director of the Coalition for the People’s Agenda. “More than 5 million people turned out for the general election and 4.5 million for the U.S. Senate runoffs in the middle of a pandemic expressly because things like vote by mail and the use of dropboxes and extended early voting hours made the process more user friendly. The current effort to rollback voting accessibility is an affront to our democratic process.”
Now that Governor Kemp has signed into law legislation that fundamentally alters the course of voting in the state of Georgia, the Election Administration Coalition is turning its eye toward increased voter education efforts and supporting the lawsuits that have been filed in opposition to the bills passed this session. “Governor Kemp and the legislature have sent a clear signal that their greatest interest is in advancing partisan outcomes rather than increasing democratic participation across the state,” said Malika Redmond, Executive Director of Women Engaged. “Now more than ever, as we continue to grapple with the realities of COVID-19, we need a process in place that will ensure increased opportunity to participate in the democratic process through voting. We have a long road ahead, but we will not be deterred. The people of Georgia deserve better and we stand ready to defend and protect the voting rights of our state’s residents”
Senate Bill 202 along with other voter suppression legislation passed this session does everything from curtail the use of dropboxes to increasing requirements for voter identification and limiting the window during which eligible voters can both register to vote and cast their ballots. Disproportionately, those impacted by this legislation are Black and Brown people and members of low-income, underserved and traditionally underrepresented communities. “It’s hard to envision that this level of legislative overhaul would’ve been attempted had the results of the general and runoff elections been different,” said Megan Gordon-Kane, Public Affairs Manager at the Feminist Women’s Health Center. “I can’t imagine that we would’ve seen this kind of push if so many women and people of color hadn’t turned out to vote.”
County election officials have also expressed their concern and opposition to these bills, saying that they take away local control of election administration while simultaneously increasing the financial burden on counties to run elections. “This is a power grab, at best,” said Susannah Scott, President for the League of Women Voters for Georgia, noting that the takeover of county election boards will enable state legislators to remove county supervisors.
The Election Administration Coalition is actively engaged in exploring solutions to the problems created by Senate Bill 202, and the groups are preparing intensified voter education and engagement efforts to counter the damaging effects of these new laws.
About The Election Administration Coalition
The Election Administration Coalition is a group of non-profit, non-partisan organizations working to uphold safe and fair elections in Georgia. The Coalition includes Georgia Votes, Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Common Cause Georgia, League of Women Voters of Georgia, Feminist Women’s Health Center, Black Voters Matter, Georgia Conservation Voters, Women Engaged, and 9to5 Georgia.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Adam Sweat
Georgia Votes Declares: Don’t Bother My Ballot
Wednesday, February 3, 2021 (ATLANTA, GA) – Yesterday, on the heels of a string of proposed legislation that aims to roll back Georgia voters’ access to the ballot, Georgia Votes held a press conference demanding fair and transparent election laws for the state.
“After what many would argue was the most successful election in Georgia history given the volume of voter turnout especially during a pandemic, we are now faced with the specter of regressive laws that seek to suppress the voices and votes of Georgia residents,” said Helen Butler, Executive Director of the Coalition for the People’s Agenda. “There has been no evidence to date of massive absentee voting fraud in Georgia or elsewhere in the 2020 election cycle,” she continued, “and there should be no rush to change a process based upon false narratives about absentee ballot fraud.”
Georgia Votes collaborative includes: All Voting is Local-Georgia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Black Voters Matters, Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Common Cause Georgia, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, LCF Georgia, League of Women Voters of Georgia, Georgia NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, The New Georgia Project, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The collaborative rejected baseless claims of voter fraud and emphasized a need to expand, rather than suppress the voting rights of communities across the state.
“Georgia’s systems are set up to be secure and have multiple failsafes to prevent improper voting. Elections officials double-check absentee ballot applications and returned ballots against the voter rolls,” said Aunna Dennis, Executive Director of Common Cause. “Elections officials perform signature verification on both the application and the outside envelope of voted ballots. Voters with internet access are able to track their ballots online. The system is set up to be secure — and it works. The Cobb County audit proved that.”
The collaborative insists that there are alternative means for confirming the identity of voters who submit absentee ballot applications and ballots that are far less burdensome than any of the proposals set forth thus far. With nearly a dozen new voter restriction laws introduced in the last week, Georgia Votes is on high alert and prepared to mobilize to make sure that Georgia state legislators know that voters want more – not fewer – options to participate in the democratic process.
“Copying photo IDs multiple times during an election cycle is an unreasonable and unnecessary burden on voters,” said Jerry Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials. “In a single election cycle, voters could be forced to make 10 or more copies of their photo ID to enclose with each application for an absentee ballot and with the ballot itself. This is just another attempt to curtail the rights of everyday Georgians and to make it harder for diverse, underrepresented and unserved members of our community to vote.”
This proposed legislation would place an undue burden on the communities of color that showed record turn out in Georgia’s 2020 election cycle.
AAPI voters, along with Black and Hispanic voters, proved instrumental to the historic voter turnout we’ve seen over the past year. “Bills such as SB 29 take a direct aim at the culture of civic engagement that we’ve been able to build in Georgia. This bill and bills like it are detrimental to voters of all kinds, not just because of race and color, but also because of socioeconomic status,” said LaVita Tuff, Policy Director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta. “If we dont push back on bills of this kind, we will continue to see a false narrative painted and stated against voters that are untrue, not sustainable, and will continue to threaten their civic engagement and civil rights. We cannot stand for it.”
The full press conference can be viewed here.
About Georgia Votes
Georgia Votes is a bold, trusted, and diverse collaborative that champions an equitable and inclusive democracy, for and with traditionally underrepresented communities. Georgia Votes supports and coordinates the civic engagement programs of our diverse partner organizations, and develops the infrastructure, executes the joint strategies, and employs new tools and technology to assure a government that is more responsive to the needs of our constituencies.
Georgia––for the fourth time since the pandemic ground the nation and the world to a halt in March––is facing yet another election amid rising COVID-19 cases. While our priority as a coalition has always been driving civic engagement and protecting the voting rights of all Georgians, this year we have the added responsibility of keeping voters, poll workers, and election officials safe.
In a democracy, equal access to the ballot box is critical and so is the enthusiastic participation of volunteers who make elections happen and protect that asset. There is no greater testament to the incredible work of Georgians across the state than the nationwide excitement we’ve seen in response to the January 5th runoffs. We are heartened by the responses we’ve received and look forward to helping all prospective volunteers get involved in the runoffs––from their homes.
Our coalition is diverse and represents Black and marginalized communities, whom we are working tirelessly to get out the vote, and those are the same communities that are being disproportionately impacted by the virus.
COVID-19 is threatening Georgia’s healthcare system, which is already being stretched to its limits. State leaders are pleading with out-of-state volunteers to find ways to contribute from their homes and we agree wholeheartedly.
As much as we welcome the enthusiasm about our upcoming Senate runoffs and understand the desire some may feel to contribute to the elections, we do not condone people coming from out of state to do voter registration and canvassing in Georgia. In fact, we highly discourage those efforts.
Our coalition and others across the state are working together on an agreement not to canvass given current events. While we understand that in-person voter contact can be one of the most effective ways to get people engaged, we are very mindful of the very real threat that this virus poses to our communities. This is also why we remain fervent advocates of voting by mail.
Even as democracy hangs in the balance, we simply cannot put lives at risk even as we continue to protect the right to vote. While, we understand that there are instances in which in-person contact is the only or best feasible means of engaging would-be voters, and in those cases, some organizations are conducting contactless canvassing and staying safe – and protecting others – by using PPE. Well-trained organizers who are familiar with these communities and the proper protocol to maintain to increase safety outcomes are the only people who should be out and about doing in-person voter outreach. In most instances, out of state residents simply don’t have the training or the time to best understand the landscape in order to safely engage in this process.
The most important thing our coalition can and will do at this time is to raise awareness about the importance of voting in the U.S. Senate runoffs, while also taking care of each other and keeping everyone as safe as possible.
Out of state volunteers interested in participating in the elections should stay home and find ways to plug in by visiting GoVoteGA.org, contributing monetary donations to help get out the vote in much-needed communities, and exploring virtual volunteer opportunities, which includes text and phone banking and virtual canvass parties.
When the January runoffs approach in a mere matter of weeks, we look forward to seeing Georgian’s excitement carried over from the November general election and multiplied––in a safe and secure election.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Adam Sweat
Election Protection Coalition Says Enough is Enough, We Have Fair Elections and Poll Workers Must be Protected
December 8, 2020 (ATLANTA, GA) – With 27 days remaining until the U.S. Senate runoffs, the Election Protection Coalition is fighting double duty––working hard to ensure that Georgia voters have all the information they need to fully participate in the January 5, 2021 election, and warding off partisan rhetoric that threatens the lives of poll workers.
“The fact of the matter is that Georgia’s elections process has been fair and safe thus far, and while voter fraud is virtually nonexistent in the state, voter intimidation is alive and well,” said Helen Butler, Chair of the Election Protection Coalition and Executive Director of the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda.
The Election Protection Coalition emphasized that people should have confidence that their ballots count and their voices matter, despite any amount of rhetoric to the contrary. Regardless of recent declarations that the State Senate will seek to change voter laws at the start of the January legislative session, the processes that Georgia already has in place uphold voter integrity work. Georgians can rely on both valid and safe means to cast their ballots in the runoffs just as they did during the primaries and in the general election. To be clear, there is no voter fraud at play.
“Poll workers stand on the front lines of defending our democracy,” said Susannah Scott, President, League of Women Voters of Georgia, “and our state benefits from the assistance and effort of well-trained, dutiful and diligent poll workers. Their credibility and work ethic––and the validity of the ballots they help tabulate––should not be put in question just to satisfy partisan agendas, and by all means, their safety should never be jeopardized because of their administration of this important work.”
About The Election Protection Coalition
The Election Protection Coalition is a group of non-profit, non-partisan organizations working to uphold safe and fair elections in Georgia. The Coalition includes Georgia Votes, All Voting is Local-Georgia, Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Common Cause and Common Cause Georgia, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, League of Women Voters of Georgia, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., Georgia NAACP, The New Georgia Project, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Adam Sweat
Voting Rights Organizations Insist “Every Vote Must Be Counted”
November 4, 2020 (ATLANTA, GA) – As the nation awaits the final results of the presidential election, a coalition of Georgia based civic engagement and voting rights organizations are urging election officials to continue counting ballots until every vote is counted. “In what has been an unprecedented year, from the global outbreak of COVID-19 to a series of natural disasters and economic recession, we must show that our democracy can withstand even the greatest challenges,” said Helen Butler, Executive Director for the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda. “All voices matter and every vote must be counted.”
Counties continue to count absentee ballots and early votes, as well as provisional ballots issued amid technical difficulties at several polling locations on Election Day. “It is not lost on us that this election marked the first time in more than two decades that Georgia is considered an actual battleground state,” said Jerry Gonzales, CEO of GALEO. “In roughly that same period of time, we have increased the population of registered Hispanic voters by 2,560%! Now more than ever, our people need to appreciate just how much their voices and votes do, in fact, matter. That only happens by counting every vote.”
Stephanie Cho, Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, echoed this sentiment. “Issues of diversity, inclusion, and representation were all on the ballot this election, and Georgia voters have the right to make sure that our representatives reflect our values and are committed to improving our communities. The will of the people will only be fully expressed,” she said, “if all votes are counted.
All of the leaders, whose organizations are part of the Georgia Votes collaborative, have a common message: the process is working and we must give election officials the time and space to safely and adequately count and process all votes.
About Georgia Votes
Georgia Votes is a bold, trusted, and diverse collaborative that champions an equitable and inclusive democracy, for and with traditionally underrepresented communities.
As the November 3rd general election rapidly approaches, Georgia is once again in need of poll workers who can assist with the voting process leading up to and on Election Day.
The June 9th primary elections were proof of the critical importance of poll workers, the first lines of defense for our democracy. Poll workers are trained to comply with election laws and make sure the election process is fair and effective for all eligible voters.
Despite the long lines, malfunctioning voting machines, and other issues many Georgians—particularly Georgians of color— faced during the primary elections, poll workers were there to solve issues as needed, report issues and make the voting process as safe as it can possibly be during a pandemic.
In many ways, the issues that were faced during the primary could have been prevented if more poll workers were on hand to help. That’s why the Georgia Election Protection Coalition is working to expand the number of poll workers across the state, in areas big and small, rural and urban, wealthy and underprivileged. Because we understand that every single community in this state deserves the opportunity to vote in free and fair elections and in the safest conditions possible.
The need is dire and time is running out. As the AJC recently reported, there are “over 5 million voters” expected in this year’s election and “election officials say they need over 20,000 workers statewide by Nov. 3.”
Georgia is ground zero for voter suppression and we’ve seen it happen before. Poll workers can make the difference between an election disaster like we saw in June, and a successful, safe election that Georgians deserve. In communities of color, where voter suppression runs rampant, trust in election officials may be low. In those areas, it is critical to have poll workers on hand that are from those communities and look like them to ensure their voting experience is a good one.
The qualifications to be a poll worker are simple: you must be 16 years old or older, live in the county where you want to serve as a poll worker, and communicate both in written form and verbally in English. Pay varies by country and workers do any variety of tasks including greeting and directing voters, troubleshooting technical issues, and ensuring ballots are securely turned in at the end of the voting process.
If there were ever a year to do your part, this is it. This is the time to stand up and help your community have the best possible voting experience for a critically important election.
Sign up to work as a poll worker, by visiting https://www.govotega.org/pollworkers/.
The Georgia Election Protection Coalition is made up of organizations aimed at protecting and expanding access to the ballot box across the state of Georgia. Organizations that make up the coalition are: Georgia Votes, All Voting is Local-Georgia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Common Cause and Common Cause Georgia, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, League of Women Voters of Georgia, Georgia NAACP, The New Georgia Project, and the Southern Poverty Law Center
Georgia advocates across the state are angered by the latest move by the Trump Administration to limit census participation of black, brown, and immigrant communities. After granting an extension for Census completion in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump Administration recently instructed the United States Census Bureau to complete the 2020 Census activites a month early, by September 30, 2020.
“Black, brown and immigrant communities have been ravaged by COVID-19, violent and racist policing and repeated attempts to attack our voting rights. The last thing any elected official should do in this unprecedented time is seek to disrupt an accurate and full census count of our communities — thereby sabotaging our state’s chance to receive federal resources Georgia families desperately depend on. Congress must protect the 2020 Census by including an extension of the Congressional reporting deadline in the next COVID-19 bill,” states Stephanie Cho, Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta.
This past spring, the Trump Administration originally announced an extension for residents to complete their census by October 31, 2020. Currently, only 58.7% of the state’s population has completed the 2020 Census. Ending operations early puts Georgia at risk for losing millions in federal funding over the next 10 years.
A successful 2020 Census requires following up with those who do not respond on their own.A shorter census timeline will make it impossible to count every household. Door knocking disproportionately covers the historically undercounted communities in Georgia and this move severely limits door-to-door enumeration.
The census is not a partisan issue — an undercount in Georgia fails the whole state. Make no mistake, as Georgians across the state prepare to vote in the November general election, we are watching very closely the actions of current US Senators to stand up for our communities across the state. Our Senators must act immediately to extend the statutory reporting deadlines for congressional apportionment data, and give the Census Bureau the time it has said it needs to complete the count.
We implore all Georgians to call Senators Leoffler and Purdue and demand an extension for the completion of census in this great time of need. Now more than ever, it is critically important for all Georgians to fill out the census and help other households to do so, in a safe and socially distanced manner.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler
131 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
Sen. David Perdue
455 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta
Atlanta Sikh Community
Black Voters Matter GA
Burmese Rohingya Community of Georgia (BRCG)
Coalition of Latino Leaders-CLILA
Common Cause Georgia
Faith in Public Life
Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO)
Georgia Muslim Voter Project (GAMVP)
Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda
Georgia Conservation Voters (GCV)
Georgia Stand Up
Korean American Chamber of Commerce of Atlanta-Georgia
KOWIN Atlanta GA -Korean Women International Network
Laotian American National Alliance
Latino Community Fund – Georgia
League of Women Voters of Georgia, Inc.
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)
Refugee Women’s Network
Rep GA Institute, Inc.
Somali American Community Center
Southeast Immigrant Rights Network
Wake Up, Atlanta
Women Watch Afrika, Inc. (WWA)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Adam Sweat
Georgia Coalition Condemns Secretary Raffensperger for Key Role in Botched Primary
The Coalition demands Raffensperger take accountability and calls for his resignation ahead of the November General Election
Thursday, June 11, 2020 (ATLANTA, GA) Today, the Georgia Votes Coalition released a joint statement responding to widespread delays in voting caused by inadequate and in many cases fully inoperative voting machines, long lines at polls, and voters being turned away from their assigned polling locations during the June 9th Primary.
The coalition calls on Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to accept full accountability for subjecting Georgia voters to chaotic and unacceptable voting conditions and condemned his efforts to deflect blame for voting failures across the state:
“We are appalled at the utter disarray experienced by Georgians at the polls on June 9th. For far too many, what should have been a simple act of voting turned into a multi-hour saga of standing in long lines and even being turned away at multiple voting locations,” Jeff Graham, Executive Director, Georgia Equality said. “Ever apparent was Secretary Raffensperger’s complete disregard for his responsibility to provide fair and free elections to all Georgians attempting to exercise their constitutional right to vote.”
“Access to the ballot box in Georgia has always been precarious for voters under normal primary election circumstances, but to have these issues during a pandemic brought our worst fears to light,” Stephanie Cho, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, emphasized. “Georgians risked their health to cast a vote in this election and deserved the chance to cast their vote without barriers to the booth.”
The coalition implored Secretary Raffensperger to prevent these foreseeable issues, including raising alarms about reductions in voting machines and urging an expansion of Georgia’s vote-by-mail capabilities.
“The writing has been on the wall for months. Secretary Raffensperger twice postponed the primary election due to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and many organizations, our coalition included, made clear the concerns about the ability to carry this election out safely and efficiently. It is baffling that Raffensperger would now express his disbelief that this would happen and attempt to point the blame at local elections officials,” James Woodall, Georgia NAACP State President, added.
As a result of the botched primary, the coalition demands the Secretary immediately outline the remedial actions being taken to fix these issues before the general election. Because his office cannot be trusted to effectively carry out our elections, we are calling on the Carter Center to send in international observers to ensure that all Georgians have clear access to the ballot box in November.
Tamieka Atkins, Executive Director of ProGeorgia, noted, “The Secretary’s attempts to point fingers toward hard-working and diligent poll workers and other officials, rather than accept his own department’s failure to prepare, train, and support local counties statewide, are unacceptable and will not stand. Anything less than an apology for those workers and urgent efforts from the Secretary to aid local elections officials is unsuitable.”
Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO), added, “Furthermore, Georgia voters deserve better than a Secretary of State who places their ability to vote in jeopardy and refuses to own up to his shortcomings in creating yesterday’s debacle. Secretary Raffensperger must resign — as we prepare for August run-offs and the November general election, voters deserve competent leadership they can believe in, and Secretary Raffensperger has demonstrated that he is not up to the task.”
The coalition will continue pushing for the Secretary’s compliance with outlined demands and working with voters to ensure they are fully informed and able to participate in the democratic process.
The following Georgia Votes members have issued these demands: 9to5 Georgia, All Voting is Local – Georgia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Atlanta Jobs with Justice, Black Voters Matter Capacity Building Institute, Faith in Public Life, Feminist Women’s Health Center, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO), Georgia Equality, Georgia Muslim Voter Project, Georgia NAACP, Georgia Shift, Georgia Stand Up, Georgia WAND Education Fund, Latino Community Fund (LCF Georgia), McIntosh SEED, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), National Domestic Workers Alliance – Atlanta, Partnership for Southern Equity, Represent GA Action Network, SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!, Women Watch Afrika.
Georgia Votes is a bold, trusted, and diverse collaborative that champions an equitable and inclusive democracy, for and with traditionally underrepresented communities.