Democratic Candidates for US House 5th District Special Election

Democratic Candidates for US House 5th District Special Election

These articles are written by volunteers. If you would like to contribute, or if you see an error, please contact communications@fultondems.org

Why is there a special election?

This election on September 29 is to fill John Lewis’ remaining current term that ends in January 2021. This is a jungle election, so there will be multiple candidates on the ballot, and someone must get 50% +1 of the vote in order to win. If not, there will be a runoff on Dec 1.
On November 3, voters will elect someone to serve a new term starting in January 2021 to January 2023. Nikema Williams will be on the ballot for the Democratic Party.

Candidates


Robert Franklin

Robert Franklin is a a former president of Morehouse College and currently teaches at Emory University.

Kwanza Hall

Kwanza Hall served three terms on the Atlanta City Council.

Barrington Martin II

Barrington Martin II challenged John Lewis in the primary for US House District 5 on June 9th and received 13% of the vote. He is a teacher for students with special needs. Learn more at votethedream.com

“Able” Mable Thomas

Mable Thomas previously served on Atlanta City Council and in the Georgia General Assembly representing House District 55, and later, District 56.

Keisha Sean Waites

Keisha Waites served in the Georgia House of Representatives representing District 60 from 2012 to 2017 and has experience in crisis management. Learn more at keishawaites.com.

Help Make Voting Easier in Georgia!

Help Make Voting Easier in Georgia!

We’re making a list of things you can do to help protect the vote in Georgia. Read on to learn more.

Advocate for better voting legislation

 
State Rep Roger Bruce (HD61) has repeatedly proposed legislation that would allow voters to vote anywhere within their county on Election Day. If you can vote anywhere in the county during the early voting period, why not on Election Day?
 
 
“They do it for early voting. It’s in the system. I don’t understand what the difference is between early voting and election day, other than people just don’t want to do,” Rep. Bruce told 11Alive.
 
 
This year, the bill HB117 failed to cross over, so it will not pass in this session, but tell the Secretary of State, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House that YOU WANT THIS BILL. Tell them we need to make voting easier in Georgia!
 
 
Speaker of the House
David Ralston
332 State Capitol
Atlanta, GA 30334
david.ralston@house.ga.gov
(404) 656.5020
 
 
Secretary of State
Brad Raffensberger
2 MLK Jr. Dr. S.E. – Floyd W. Tower
Suite 814
AtlantaGA 30344
 
Lieutenant Governor
Geoff Duncan
240 State Capitol Atlanta, GA 30334
(404) 656-5030

Online contact form

Become a poll worker!

The best way to fix the process is to get involved! Being a poll worker is a paying job, and you will be trained.

Click here to apply online.

If you don’t hear back from the Board of Elections within a few weeks of applying, please contact your regional chair.

Donate to a voting rights organization

There are several organizations in Georgia who are already doing great work in this space.

Fair Fight Georgia

New Georgia Project

Spread the Vote

ACLU of Georgia

Common Cause Georgia

All Voting is Local

Voting During COVID-19

Voting During COVID-19

As 2020 continues to reshape our lives, it is important to remember that this November we have the chance to get America back on the right path. This election could be the most consequential one of our lives. Let’s hope it is. 

Recently, Aaron Johnson of the Fulton County Board of Elections was interviewed about the upcoming primary election. His comments are condensed here and worth the read. Being informed is the first step in the election process.

As you know, the presidential primary in March got pushed to May and now forward again to June 9. And since some people had voted early during the presidential primary in March, but not the state primary originally scheduled for May 19, there are several scenarios to consider as we approach the June date. Hopefully, this will be the last extension of the primary but there are no guarantees. 

For those of you who have requested an absentee ballot, they should be arriving soon. For some reason, several applications were sent to the wrong address; if you are wondering why yours never arrived, contact the Fulton County Board of Elections (www.fultonelections.com) this week. For your vote to count, you will need time to receive the application (or you can download one here), send that in, wait on the official ballot and mail that one in. Or, write or call the Fulton Board of Elections office to request an application; it can be mailed back in or you can scan and email it (elections.absentee@fultoncountyga.gov) or use an app that takes and sends phone-generated photos. Use a high-res phone and take a good picture of the completely filled out and SIGNED form. Send it to the Fulton County Registration and Elections Department at 130 Peachtree Street SW, Suite 2186, Atlanta, GA 30303-3460. To check your application’s status, go to your My Voter Page

On the application request form, you have the option to request a Republican or Democrat or Non-partisan ballot. Once your official ballot shows up, it will only list your party’s candidates running for office. The Democratic ballot will include races like the US Senate race, state representatives, and non-partisan judges. The Democratic candidates who win these primaries will then run in November against the opposing party’s candidate. 

Now, since the presidential primary was to be held back in March, some people early voted in that race before COVID-19 reared up and postponed the election. If you did vote early, your ballot will not show presidential candidates. For the majority of us who did not vote early, all candidates within our party will be listed on our ballot. 

To be sure, the standard “vote-in-person” on June 9 is always an option. Your precinct will be up and running with poll workers’ smiling faces. Some polling places have changed due to COVID-19 concerns, so check your Election Day polling place here. But, if you have any concerns with COVID, then it would be best for you to vote by mail. Voting locations and poll workers will offer the safest environment they can, but other voters may have a different version of “safe” than yours. 

As of now, early voting will be reduced due to staff and locations considerations. There will only be 5 in Fulton County (see the full list here). Therefore, mail-in ballots are the safer way to go.

When you return your absentee ballot, don’t forget to use two stamps!! (And sign your ballot!) And, if you want to save on postage, you can drop your ballot in one of 20 absentee drop boxes throughout Fulton County

Election day is the last day to vote in any form, so don’t wait till the last minute. As you can see, there is a big push for mail-in ballots. It’s easy and you can do it from home. Just like ordering pizza! Remember, the risks of not voting are too high so make sure you are an active, informed voter. We look forward to seeing you at the election night party in November!

Democratic Candidates for Fulton County District Attorney

Democratic Candidates for Fulton County District Attorney

Fulton County Dems are trying to highlight lesser-known races within Fulton County. These articles are written by volunteers. If you would like to contribute, or if you see an error, please contact communications@fultondems.org

What is a district attorney?

The district attorney is the head prosecutor in Fulton County. The DA prosecutes indictable offenses in both trial and appellate courts in the State of Georgia. The DA is also responsible for prosecuting juveniles in felony and misdemeanor cases. The DA is an elected position with a four-year term. For more information, please visit the DA’s website: https://www.atlantafultoncountyda.org

Candidates

Paul Howard

Paul Howard is the incumbent DA, currently serving his sixth term. He was the first African American elected as DA in the state of Georgia. He served as Fulton County’s Solicitor General for four years prior to being elected DA. Some highlights of his tenure as DA include restructuring the office to better execute its goals, the creation of specialized prosecution units including Crimes Against Women and Children, Public Integrity and more. He also implemented the “Complaint Room” which has streamlined the felony charging process, which has saved the county millions of dollars. He has also made efforts to increase community engagement and address the needs of youth. He is the Director-at-Large of the National Association of District Attorneys and is a member of the National Black Prosecutors Association, the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials and the 100 Black Men of Atlanta.

For more information, please visit: https://www.re-electpaulhoward.com/

Christian Wise Smith

Christian Wise Smith is running for DA with the goal of reforming the office. His platform includes focusing less on low-level offenses and instead direct resources towards serious crimes. He believes that drug addiction should be treated as a medical issue instead of a criminal offense and advocates for the expansion of more effective diversion programs. He plans to increase collaboration with law enforcement, citizens, businesses and universities in Fulton County as well as to collaborate with the Fulton County School System to combat juvenile crime. He wants to eliminate the “Complaint Room” and plans to focus on transparency. He most recently served as a Fulton County Assistant District Attorney. Prior to that, he served as an assistant solicitor with the Atlanta Municipal Court and a chief of staff for the Atlanta City Council District 5 member.

For more information, please visit: https://www.wisesmith2020.com

Fani Willis

Fani Willis most recently served at the Chief Municipal Court Judge for the City of South Fulton until announcing her candidacy for Fulton County DA. She has worked in both private and public practice. She served as the Assistant Solicitor for the City of Atlanta before serving as Fulton County Assistant District Attorney in the Major Case and Cold Case divisions. She then was promoted to serve as the Deputy District Attorney of the Complex Trial Division. Willis is an advocate for children, victims of violent crime, the LGBT community and domestic violence victims. She also advocated for the passage of a hate crime bill in the 2018 Georgia Legislature. In 2018, she was awarded the Most Power and Influential Woman of the Year and has been recognized numerous times throughout her career. Her platform includes creating pre-indictment diversion programs, establishing a comprehensive investigation unit leading to proper charging and indictments, the expansion of post indictment diversion programs and the use of accountability courts. She also will work to collaborate with community and religious leaders and support youth development programs.

For more information, please visit: https://www.faniwillis.com

 Research more candidates in our Democratic Primary Candidate Guide.

Your Absentee Ballot Package

Your Absentee Ballot Package

The current COVID-19 health crisis means that a lot of Georgians are voting by mail (or “absentee,” as it’s called) for the first time.

So you’ve requested your ballot and received a big envelope in the mail. You marked your choices on your ballot. Now what?

You should receive three items with your ballot:

  • Privacy sleeve
  • Instructions
  • Return envelope

But the instructions say to “securely seal the ballot in the smaller of the two envelopes provided”. But wait, you only see one envelope!

The “second envelope” is actually that folded in half sheet of paper that reads “OFFICIAL ABSENTEE BALLOT/BALLOT MUST BE ENCLOSED”. It’s more of a privacy sleeve.

Here’s what you should do:

  • Complete your ballot.
  • Fold the privacy sleeve around your ballot.
    • Your are not required to seal the privacy sleeve. But you can, if you would like.
  • Place the folded privacy sleeve with the ballot in the return envelope.
    • Note: The ballot will not be rejected, if the privacy sleeve is not included.
  • Complete the oath on the return envelope and place it in the mail to the County Registrar’s office.

Read more: https://www.georgiademocrat.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/FAQVBMInnerSleeve.pdf

absentee ballot second envelope(click image to enlarge)

Anyone Can Vote by Mail in Georgia – Here’s How

Anyone Can Vote by Mail in Georgia – Here’s How

Did you know that anybody can vote by mail in Georgia? You don’t need a reason, but you do need to fill out a form to request a ballot.

  1. Make sure that your voter registration is correct. You can check your status and registered address at the My Voter Page. If you need to make changes, you can quickly make updates online.
  2. Download this form from the Secretary of State’s website. Complete the form in full, including your signature at the bottom.
  3. Mail your application to Fulton County Registrar at 130 PEACHTREE STREET SW #2186, ATLANTA, GA 30303-3460. It’s best to get your ballot in the mail by the Friday before election day. You can check when your application is received on your My Voter Page.
  4. You will receive an absentee ballot in the mail, along with instructions and a return envelope. (The county registrars will begin mailing them out soon). Once you receive your ballot, complete it, making sure to put your address and date of birth on the outer envelope where indicated, and don’t forget to sign your ballot. When you mail your ballot back to your county registrar (address above), make sure to use two stamps. You can check to see when your ballot is received on your My Voter Page. Ballots must be received by Election Day in order to be counted.

FAQ

Check out the Democratic Party of Georgia’s FAQ here.

Is voting by mail secure? Yes! You can track your ballot’s progress on your My Voter Page. You’ll see the date your ballot was mailed to you, the date it was received by the county registrar, and the date it was counted. The DPG also has a full-time Voter Protection Director who will have representatives on-site to watch ballot counts on election day (plus a team of lawyers to respond to any issues that may arise!).

What if I check My Voter Page and I don’t see my ballot received by the registrar? If your ballot hasn’t been received by the last day of early voting, call the county registrar (Fulton County: (404) 612-3816) and ask that they cancel your ballot, then go vote in person.

I’m not sure that my ballot will arrive at the registrar’s office by election day! What do I do? You can hand your ballot into the registrar yourself, or use one of the official dropboxes around Fulton county.

Why should I vote absentee? It’s an easy and verifiable form of voting. Plus, if any issues arise with your registration or ballot in the process of voting, the DPG will be able to help correct the issues so that your vote will still count by election day.

What if I have more questions? Call the Democratic Party of Georgia’s Voter Protection Hotline at 888-730-5816. They’re here to help, no matter how small your question may seem!

COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 Resources

Since we want to make sure our community stays safe, we’re sharing some resources that we think may help you through this new and challenging time in our history.

For updates on COVID-19 (coronavirus), please refer to:

The Georgia Department of Public Healthhttps://dph.georgia.gov/

Fulton County government: https://www.fultoncountyga.gov/covid-19

If you think you may have a case of coronavirus, please call the Georgia COVID-19 hotline. Do not show up unannounced to a hospital or health care facility: (844) 442-2681.

 If you have symptoms of fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, nausea or diarrhea, call 404-613-8150 to schedule a test at Fulton County Board of Health drive-through testing.

Resources for those affected by economic changes:

 

Ways you can help:

For more information:

Video from PBS on the Covid-19 Virus: https://youtu.be/bQZ5F-iTFYA
Tips for minimizing risk and keeping healthy during the coronavirus outbreak.
Census 2020 – Your Questions Answered

Census 2020 – Your Questions Answered

The 2020 Census is coming up! What is it? Why should you care? Can the information you share be used against you? Here are your frequently asked questions with answers.

What is the Census?
Once every ten years, the census takes place to have an accurate count of how many people are living in
the United States. This is required by the Constitution. Invitations to complete the census form will be
mailed out around March 12 – 20 and you can respond online, by mail or by phone.

Why is the census important?

  • Allocation for funding and resources

It is important to know who is living where to ensure that funding and resources such as hospitals,
schools, roads, and other public resources we all use are allocated fairly to the communities that
need them.

  • Legislative districts

Districts are redrawn every ten years to account for population changes.

  • Fair Representation

Census data is used to reapportion representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives to
determine how many seats each state receives.

  • Local governments

Local governments use census data to plan effective public safety and emergency response.

  • Businesses

Businesses use census data to determine where to build new factories, offices and stores which
creates new jobs.

Who should complete the Census?
EVERYONE! The census counts every person living in the United States, regardless of citizenship or legal
status.

Why should I complete the census?

The census accounts for how roughly $800 billion tax dollars will be spent. This money goes to things like roads, parks, public transportation and more. Each person who takes the census brings in more than $2300 in funding to Fulton County!

Is there a citizenship question on the census?

There is no citizenship question on the form. Additionally, you will not be asked for your social
security number, bank accounts, or political affiliations. All information is confidential and will only be
used for statistical purposes.

Is there a cost to take the census?

There is no fee required to complete the census.

For more information:
https://www.fultoncountyga.gov/inside-fulton-county/fulton-county-initiatives/census-2020
https://2020census.gov/content/dam/2020census/materials/languages/guides/English-Guide.pdf
Para más información:
https://2020census.gov/content/dam/2020census/materials/languages/guides/Spanish-Guide.pdf

Day of Action at the Capitol – Bills for Consideration

Day of Action at the Capitol – Bills for Consideration

The Fulton County Dems are hosting a Day of Action at the Capitol on Tuesday, March 10.
Tentative schedule:

9:00 AM, CLOB room 510 –  Lobbying Your Legislator training with Jeff Willard
9:30 AM, CLOB room 510 – A visit from legislators of Fulton County
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM, Capitol Building – Working the Ropes
Noon – Optional meetup at Floyd Towers Cafeteria for feedback and lunch

Here are some bills that have surfaced either in committee or in the House or Senate. You may wish to discuss one or more of these bills with your legislator:

SB434 – Plastic Bag Ban
Prohibits plastic bags and food service disposable containers made from Styrofoam. For more information: https://www.facebook.com/sallyharrellga/videos/835725570237094/

SB409 – Vote by Mail
Would allow Georgians to always vote by mail without having to request every single election. For more information: https://www.ajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/bill-would-allow-georgians-always-vote-mail/t1vglJzzazXvs15fNf4PNI/?fbclid=IwAR0JCtnsB7zHs3DeX38ntE2r7lejTFJJzYjNZg8oTccw7JPq-ny0IVX2KpU

HB994 – “Anti-Gang” Bill
Has undergone multiple revisions but still:

– Allows prosecutors to move juvenile cases related to gang activity to the adult system with permission from a juvenile judge

– Defines “criminal street gangs” as any group – of people of three or more who are suspected of coordinating criminal activity

– Lengthens prison sentences and extends the reach of law enforcement agencies across county lines

– Expands the powers of campus police and school security officers so they can have arrest powers 880 yards beyond school boundaries

https://www.ajc.com/news/crime–law/kemp-anti-gang-bill-amended-due-opposition/yeOQplDDd8ym7aIGQliHSL/

Our legislators need to be focusing on the societal barriers that lead young people to gang involvement and invest in the resources necessary to ensure that children and their families can thrive. This bill is extremist and if unchecked, will incarcerate young people at a disturbing rate, undoing the bi-partisan work that has grounded Georgia’s criminal justice reform. There appears to be no mention of Alt-Right Militias being considered a ‘gang’. This bill defines behaviors that can be attributed to urban culture as potential crimes

SB357 – Guns in Private Schools and Churches
Will allow people to bring guns into private schools and places of worship

HB440 – Raise the Age for Juveniles

Will raise the age of minors prosecuted in the juvenile justice system to 18. The majority of offenses committed by 17 year-olds are misdemeanors. Raising the age for jurisdiction of the juvenile court system to include children who are under the age of 18 will result in better outcomes for young people who are at an age where they may act impulsively but who have great capacity for rehabilitation.

The Raise the Age Bill is in the House Juvenile Justice Committee. At the Feb 18th Talk Justice Tuesday, a 19 year-old named Dylan bravely shared his story of how when he was 17 he and his 16 year old friend were arrested for breaking and entering. Dylan’s friend was processed through the juvenile system while Dylan went through the adult system. The outcomes for the two were completely different. Dylan’s case took 2 ½ years to be resolved, he dropped out of school to get a job to pay his fines, will serve a five year probation sentence and have to deal with the stigma of a criminal record for the rest of his life. His friend has already finished his probation, he got his high school diploma and his record will be sealed.

HB1060 – Anti-Trans Bill
Preventing doctors from providing life saving treatment to trans minors. For more information: https://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display/20192020/HB/1060

SR654 – Tax Dollars for Public Transit (sponsored by Sen. Sally Harrell D)
Constitutional amendment to allow motor fuel tax money to be used for transit and not just roads and bridges.

SB386 – Money away from public schools
This bill is a secret school voucher bill, expanding access to special needs scholarship funds to all students with 504s. It takes money away from public schools.

HB756 and 297 – Coal Ash Pollution
Would require polluters to store coal ash in lined pits. 

HB995 – Discrimination on College Campuses
Allows discrimination on college campuses it would roll out the red carpet to permit “religious”, “political”, or “ideological” student orgs to discriminate in membership, leadership.

SB334 – Community Midwifery Bill
Licenses for midwives in Georgia. For more information: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20192020/SB/334

HB528 – Record Restriction (sponsored by Rep. Mandi Ballinger R)
Allows for the restriction (expungement) of most misdemeanor conviction records after four years.

HB714 – Solitary Confinement (sponsored by Rep. Bee Nguyen D)
Defines solitary confinement and prohibits the practice for people with mental illness, children and elderly.

SB463 – “Anti-Voting” Bill
Will slash the number of machines in precincts, and make it easier to reject absentee ballots. For more information: https://indivisiblegeorgiacoalition.org/2020/03/04/voting-rights-theyre-coming-for-your-absentee-ballot/

HB117 – Vote Anywhere in Your County
This bill would allow Election Day voting to be anywhere withing your county of residence, instead of at your assigned voting precinct.

HB487 – Re-Criminalize Hemp
Possession of small amounts of hemp is a misdemeanor. More information: https://hightimes.com/news/georgia-lawmakers-pushing-bill-essentially-re-criminalize-hemp/

Legislative Advocacy Events – March 2020

Legislative Advocacy Events – March 2020

Want to get involved? This is a roundup of legislative advocacy events for March 2020. Please note that some have admission fees and all events are subject to change due to changes in the legislative calendar. These events are not hosted by us, but these are all great organizations–please check with them for any changes to the schedule. Check out our events calendar for meetings and events hosted by the Fulton County Democratic Party Committee.

Efforts to End Cruel and Unusual Punishment in Georgia – Tues, March 3
9am – 11am, Trinity United Methodist Church, 265 Washington St
Georgia’s criminal legal system is full of cruel and unusual punishments, with practices that include executing people, giving children life sentences, prosecuting children as adults and confining people with serious mental illness to solitary confinement. This advocacy day will provide attendees with information about the current efforts to address these harsh practices and offer specific opportunities for people to advocate for reform to lawmakers. RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/468304654055488/

Women in Blue Day at the Capitol – Tues, March 3
8:00 am – 1:30 pm. RSVP to GFDWwin@gmail.com
Join the Georgia Federation of Democratic Women at the Capitol to lobby legislators. Start with breakfast and networking, followed by lobbying. Please wear blue!

LGBTQ Lobby Day at the Capitol – Mon, March 9
8:30 am – 12:00 pm, Georgia State Capitol
This event will provide a free training on how to educate state legislators on issues and policies that affect LGBTQ Georgians. RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/174241827209068/

Fulton Democrats Day of Action at the Capitol – Tues, March 10
9:00 am – 1:00 pm, CLOB Room 510
Join us at the Coverdell Legislative Building for a quick lobby training, then we’ll walk across the street to “work the ropes.” RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/128094955293743/

Crossover Day – March 12

Mujeres at the Capitol – Wed, March 18
9:00 am – 2:00 pm, Georgia State Capitol
The 2nd Annual Mujeres at the Capitol will be an exciting day were Latinas will have the opportunity to talk to their Representatives about issues that are impacting their community. This is a free event hosted my Georgia Shift, Alpha Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc and the Latino Community Fund. Breakfast and Lunch will be provided. RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/614281832673141/

 

Want your group’s event featured here? Email communications@fultondems.org.