WATCH: Georgia Faith Leaders Urge Recount
Georgia’s Interim Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden met with faith and civic leaders at her office in the Georgia State House on Thursday, November 15. They are the first citizens Sec. Crittenden has met with since being appointed to the position by Governor Nathan Deal.
The group represented a collective body of justice, civil rights and faith communities including Rev. Billy Honor of the New Georgia Project, Rabbi Lydia Medwin, The Temple, Reverend Neichelle Guidry, Dean of Sister’s Chapel, Spelman College, Helen Butler, Executive Director, GA Coalition for the Peoples Agenda , Cliff Albright, Black Voters Matter and Wendell Shelby-Wallace, SGA Vice-President, Morehouse College.
These organizations and many others have been fighting for voting and civil rights in Georgia over the course of the primaries and midterms. On Tuesday the 13th, Rev. Honor and others delivered a letter to Crittenden, via an assistant, titled: “Clergy Letter to Interim Secretary of State Expressing Election Concerns and Urging a recount in Georgia Governor’s Race!”
As Rev. Billy Honor, who is also Organizing Pastor of Pulse Church in Atlanta, explained before the meeting: “We had one simple demand. There is so much confusion and acts of voter suppression and so much distrust in the process that it all merits a recount. A recount would send a message that the state is committed to counting every vote. Sec. Crittenden has that power and could show moral courage.”
When the meeting occurred, the Interim Secretary of State and two aids together with the group read the Statute regarding recounts and agreed that the statute requires an automatic recount if the election is within 1%, or, if one of the campaigns submits a petition stating there were irregularities in the campaign. In other words, citizens like the group of faith leaders and justice workers cannot prompt a recount. Rev. Honor explained that they left the Interim Secretary of States office with an agreement that if they submit a list of instances where individuals experienced voter complications, challenges, and suppression that the Secretary of State would review and address those issues for further elections; and, if any candidate in the November 6 election submits a discrepancy or error in the election counting process, the Interim Secretary, would review it to see if it merits a recount.
According to Honor, Crittenden sent a letter after the meeting, thanking them and asking them to put a letter together of things that things that were wrong so it is part of the record. The Secretary was forthright and it was a civil conversation. At the same time, Rev. Honor said, “I do believe she has every intention of certifying this election as soon as she can.”
Watch the video of the delivery of the letter and the “Count Every Vote” rally below:
On Tuesday, November 13, a collective of faith and justice organizers released a video of them delivering the Clergy Letter to the Interim Secretary of State. The group was greeted at the capital by police who didn’t like the faith leaders singing gospel songs. After delivering the letter, the group came out, prayed, and joined a rally that followed with a lot of different groups chanting “Count Every Vote!” The capitol police declared chanting would not be allowed and a Georgia State Senator, Nikema Williams, was arrested along with 15 others.