Guidance for 2020 Ballot Amendments and Referendums

Guidance for 2020 Ballot Amendments and Referendums

Proposed Constitutional Amendments

  1. Authorizes dedication of fees and taxes to their intended purposes by general state law.
    House Resolution 164
    Act No 597
    “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to dedicate revenues derived from fees or taxes to the public purpose for which such fees or taxes were intended?”

Fulton County Democratic Party Committee recommends: Yes.

From the Democratic Party of Georgia: This question asks if you want to give the Georgia legislature authority to use tax revenue to just go to the public purpose for which the money was intended, instead of an all-purpose fund. Right now, the government can use money dedicated to one purpose, like cleaning up tire dumps and blight, and put it towards broader use. Environmental advocates support this bill because since 1990, while Georgia has raised millions of dollars to clean up specific waste, roughly 40% of those dollars have gone to other purposes. Critics of the amendment say it would remove flexibility for how the government can use money.
However, there are conditions for the amendment — dedicated funding could not exceed 1% of the total state revenues from the previous year, and in an emergency, the governor and General Assembly would have the ability to temporarily suspend dedicated funds.

2. Waives state and local sovereign immunity for violation of state laws, state and federal constitutions.
House Resolution 1023
Act No 596
“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to waive sovereign immunity and allow the people of Georgia to petition the superior court for relief from governmental acts done outside the scope of lawful authority or which violate the laws of this state, the Constitution of Georgia, or the Constitution of the United States?”

FCPDC recommends: Yes.

From the DPG: This question asks whether Georgians should have the right to sue local and state governments as well as elected officials and public employees in their official capacities to challenge laws that may be unconstitutional. A 2017 ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court largely eliminated the ability of Georgians to challenge the constitutionality of laws without the government’s permission. A bill seeking to restore this ability to Georgians was vetoed by Governor Deal and Governor Kemp, who cited concerns regarding lawsuits from people in mental health facilities and lawsuits involving breach of contract against government employees and officials.

Statewide Referendum

A. Establishes a tax exemption for certain real property owned by charities.
House Bill 344
Act No 149

“Shall the Act be approved which provides an exemption from ad valorem taxes for all real property owned by a purely public charity, if such charity is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code and such real property is held exclusively for the purpose of building or repairing single-family homes to be financed by such charity to individuals using loans that shall not bear interest?”

FCPDC recommends: Yes

From the DPG: This question asks if 501(c)(3) organizations should be exempt from property taxes on property that is in their inventory that is intended for building or repairing single family homes. For example, if this were to pass, Habitat for Humanity Georgia would be exempt from property tax on the vacant lots they own for future building purposes.

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 formally request a ballot.

  1. Check your voter registration at your My Voter Page. If you need to make changes, you can quickly make updates online.
  2. If you have a valid state ID (Driver’s license or other ID#), request your ballot online at

    If you do not have an ID, download this form from the Secretary of State’s website. Complete the form in full, including your signature at the bottom, then mail your application to Fulton County Registrar at 130 PEACHTREE STREET SW #2186, ATLANTA, GA 30303-3460 or drop in an absentee ballot drop box.

  3. You can check the status of your absentee ballot request 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 in mid September). 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.
  5. We recommend taking your completed ballot to an absentee ballot drop box (no postage required!). If you choose to 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.


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!

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

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.

Early voting locations now open. Find the one closest to you.


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

“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

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
(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 ( 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 ( 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

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:


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:

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:

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:

 Research more candidates in our Democratic Primary Candidate Guide.