As Georgia Republicans continuing to capitalize on conspiracy theories with further voter suppression and voter intimidation tactics, task force more necessary than ever to fight anti-voter efforts
ATLANTA — Today, the Georgia Voter Empowerment Task Force—which was founded in 2020 in response to the Georgia Secretary of State’s so-called “voter fraud” task force—officially relaunched ahead of 2022 elections, as Republicans double down on their voter intimidation and suppression tactics.
The pro-voting rights task force–which Fair Fight Action is a proud member of– is a collective of Georgia and Southern voting rights and civil rights organizations and attorneys fighting to ensure Georgians are able to vote without intimidation or misinformation. The members are:
Fair Fight Action
Black Voters Matter Fund
Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta
Asian Americans Advocacy Fund
GALEO Impact Fund
Common Cause – Georgia
All Voting Is Local – Georgia
New Georgia Project Action Fund
Tiffany Roberts – Criminal Defense Attorney
R. Gary Spencer – Criminal Defense Attorney
Scott Titshaw – Immigration Attorney and Law Professor
The group will continue to convene leading voting rights and civil rights advocacy groups and legal experts to ensure all eligible Georgians can cast their ballot and have their ballot counted.
By renewing their past focus on voting rights awareness, voter assistance, and fighting voter intimidation in Georgia, with a specific focus on marginalized communities both in urban and rural areas, they will continue to bring more communities into the fold of our democratic process.
Instead of cowering to the purveyors of voter suppression, this task force chose empowerment – of the voters and our democracy. This is a positive network aiming to create an environment in which voters – and our critical election workers – feel safe participating in free and fair elections.
“In the 2020 election, the Georgia Voter Empowerment Task Force fought back against the purveyors of voter suppression to ensure every eligible Georgian could make their voice heard at the ballot box,” said Fair Fight Action Organizing Director Hillary Holley. “As the efforts to silence voters continue ahead of the 2022 elections, our work is needed more than ever to protect our freedom to vote. Criminalization provisions in anti-voting law SB 202, unprecedented threats to election workers, and increased budgeting for GBI investigations for false claims of voter fraud all contribute to the threat our democracy faces.”
Since 2020, Georgia elections workers have faced unprecedented and unacceptable intimidation, harassment, and threats. These public servants are crucial to ensuring that voters have an unencumbered access to the right to vote, which is the bedrock of our democracy.
After passing anti-voter bill SB 202 last year, Georgia Republicans are still threatening the freedom to vote with a new and unprecedented stream of voter suppression proposals designed to please those in their base who propagate conspiracy theories and the Big Lie surrounding the 2020 election.
Most recently, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston joined Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in calling for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) to pursue false claims of voter fraud as part of their latest voter intimidation gambit. Secretary Raffensperger has announced plans for additional hires and Governor Kemp’s proposed budget for this legislative session includes an increased budget for the GBI to add more investigators – a whopping increase of $460,000 of taxpayer’s money to pursue conspiracy theory-fueled voter fraud claims.
“It is critical that all communities – particularly communities of color – have faith in the electoral process and can safely cast their ballot free from fear or intimidation,” said Holley. “The Georgia Voter Empowerment Task Force will continue to educate voters on their rights, fight intimidation, harassment, and threats in elections, and build on our success in 2020 to ensure all eligible voters are able to make their voices heard.”
“Voter suppression harms all our communities. But voters of color face barriers to the ballot box in disproportionately higher numbers. We must renew our commitment to protecting all voters of color in the 2022 elections as our democracy continues to face these threats. Working alongside the Voter Empowerment Task Force, the Georgia Coalition For the Peoples’ Agenda will mitigate these obstacles to protect our freedom to vote and empower voters in the process. Voters of color proved their power in 2020 and will not let subsequent attempts to silence their voice deter them from casting their vote in 2022.” –Helen Butler, Executive Director, Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda
“Our growing multi-ethnic, multiracial diverse electorate, which includes first-time and limited English proficient AAPI voters, deserve to cast their ballots without fear, intimidation, or misinformation. We will continue to combat all forms of voter suppression, which pose a significant threat to our democracy.” –Phi Nguyen, Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta
“Latino voters are one of the largest growing communities in Georgia. And they are also among the most likely to be caught up in the voter suppression traps of Jim Crow 2.0. Whether it is the lack of much needed language access across the state with only one county as an exception, we must continue to educate and empower our communities to fully exercise their rights to vote and continue to push for more language access options. GALEO Impact Fund is proud of its work in uplifting the voices of Latinx voters across the state and will continue to protect their freedom to vote alongside the Voter Empowerment Task Force.” –Jerry Gonzalez, CEO GALEO Impact Fund
“Criminalization of voting is not what Georgians need or deserve. Local elections officials need support, tools, and resources to ensure that all eligible Georgians have the ability to access their right to vote without barriers. Common Cause Georgia is proud of its work alongside the Georgia Voter Empowerment Task Force to increase voter accessibility and morale. It is our duty to continue to decrease both disinformation and misinformation.” –Aunna Dennis, Executive Director, Common Cause Georgia
Gubernatorial candidate David Perdue is also championing voter suppression proposals with his recent call to establish an election law enforcement within the GBI that would continue the threat of voter intimidation and could deter eligible voters from feeling confident enough to exercise their freedom to vote. Perdue also claims as governor he would require election results to be “independently audited” (again, presumably, at taxpayer expense) before they are certified, even though the governor of Georgia is bound by law to certify the results regardless of the findings of such a superfluous and costly sham review. Perdue’s proposal to create an “Election Law Enforcement Division” and his insistence on sham “reviews” are simply a continuation of the false claims of election fraud.
Last week, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that “State election officials have said there’s no indication of fraud after three ballot counts and multiple investigations. Pro-Trump lawsuits seeking to overturn the election were dismissed or withdrawn from courts. Biden defeated Trump by about 12,000 votes in Georgia.”
The AJC also reported that “Georgia already has election investigators who looked into hundreds of allegations, debunking almost all of them. Their findings refuted claims of counterfeit ballots, ballot stuffing, dead voters and mismatched signatures on absentee ballot envelopes.