Senator Raphael Warnock Requests More Government Transparency In Response To “Stop Cop City” Protests


On Friday, in the wake of opponents continuing to protest “Cop City,” the nickname for the planned police and firefighter training center, Georgia’s U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock has written a letter to Andre Dickens, Mayor of Atlanta.

This letter was written weeks after many high-ranking members of the Georgia Democratic Party remained mostly taciturn after the city announced a plan “to adopt a signature-matching verification process,” the Associated Press reports.

After learning about this proposal, activists in the “Stop Cop City” movement as well as voting rights groups were condemning this action, even referring to it as a means of suppressing votes.

In the letter, Warnock revealed that his eyes are on Atlanta, writing “I am closely monitoring the litigation positions that the City has taken in light of our shared commitment to ensuring the ability of voters to make their voices heard in their government.”

Senator Warnock continued, “I urge the City to err on the side of giving people the ability to express their views, including by establishing clear and transparent deadlines regarding timelines and requirements and by using any discretion available to the City under the law to accept and count all lawfully collected signatures.”

“I am concerned by the past application of signature match in Georgia that likely led to discrimination and potentially the disenfranchisement of eligible voters,” wrote Senator Warnock.

The three-page letter added, “As a pastor, and a U.S. Senator, I have consistently fought to ensure that all voters—whether I agree with their position or not—have a voice in their democracy. This work has included opposing onerous voting restrictions that disproportionately harm communities of color and other already disadvantaged communities.”

Warnock also asked for answers to more than 20 in-depth questions about the proposed process to match signatures and what residents could do to avoid making any pitfalls with their petitions.

Warnock concluded his missive thanking the mayor for his “shared commitment to upholding the rights of every Georgian. I look forward to your response by September 25, 2023.”

The “Stop Cop City” activists claim they have over 116,000 signatures, which is much higher than what is legally required for a referendum to be put on a ballot.

This petition is already being fought over in court. In a convoluted turn of events, a city clerk told organizers they’d missed the deadline on August 21, which had previously been extended by a federal judge. Unfortunately, it entered a legal purgatory of sorts after an appellate court paused the order’s enforcement on September 1.

However city attorneys believe the activists’ attempts are “futile” and “invalid,” and deny that there has ever been changes with regard to the deadline, AP writes.  


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