New Georgia Project & New Georgia Project Action Fund
Media Contact: [email protected]
September 29, 2023
Statement on Atlanta City Clerk’s Dangerous Move to Endanger City of Atlanta Residents Who Support a Vote on ‘Cop City’
(Atlanta, GA) – New Georgia Project and New Georgia Project Action Fund released the following statement after the City of Atlanta Clerk unnecessarily released private information of City of Atlanta residents who have signed petitions in support of a ‘Cop City’ ballot referendum:
“The City of Atlanta Clerk has violated the privacy of hundreds of thousands of City of Atlanta residents. Publishing the names, addresses, and phone numbers of Atlanta residents who have expressed support for a democratic process to determine the future of the Atlanta Police Training Facility, also known as ‘Cop City,’ is a clear exercise in intimidation and endangers the safety of all 116,000 residents who have elected to participate in our democratic process.
‘This move by the city clerk is irresponsible and intentional,’ says Kendra Cotton, NGP and NGPAF CEO. ‘It’s the latest in a string of attempts orchestrated by the City of Atlanta to stand in the way of an agreed-upon democratic process to decide the future of “Cop City.” It is a direct attack on City of Atlanta residents who have made it clear they want to have a say on this important issue. Publishing the names, addresses, and phone numbers of petition signatories—aside from being a gross invasion of privacy—will put these people at risk of public harassment and even violence, especially knowing how controversial the issue of “Cop City” is. The clerk’s actions will undoubtedly have a chilling effect, destroying trust and giving Georgia residents even more reason to be wary of participating in our democracy in the future. That’s the last thing we need, especially in Georgia.’
City of Atlanta residents should have a say on an issue that will directly impact their lives and be paid for with their tax dollars. Yet, the City of Atlanta has been intent on erecting obstacles throughout every step of this process—a clear indication that the city is putting its own interests above those of its residents.
‘We’re not buying what the city of Atlanta is selling,’ says Stephanie Jackson Ali, NGP and NGPAF Policy Director. ‘By law, the City Clerk is only required to release this private information if an open records request has been made, which has not happened. The City Clerk voluntarily published private information of City of Atlanta residents and is hiding behind faulty and malicious guidance from the City of Atlanta’s lawyers. I’d call it politically lazy if the intention was not crystal clear—to attack, intimidate, and spread fear among City of Atlanta residents who support having a say on the future of “Cop City.”’
City of Atlanta leaders should be more concerned with protecting the city’s residents, instead of further suppressing their voices and putting them in harm's way. New Georgia Project and New Georgia Project Action Fund demand that the City of Atlanta, with an acknowledgement of the harm that has already been done, immediately remove all scanned, unredacted petitions from its website and any other publicly available platforms and only upload redacted petition scans in the case it is necessary for voter verification and curing. That’s the least the city can do, short of not having done this in the first place.”