African America faith leaders across Georgia, representing over 1000 churches are joining together in a movement to advocate for voting rights through the launch of a new grassroots initiative, Faith Works.
Faith Works is a first of its kind with the involvement of many leaders coming together in a united front to advocate for fair and equal voting rights for all American citizens.
Georgia Ame Bishop, Reginald Jackson has talked about how for the last two years, there has been a well-funded political campaign of “deceit and intimidation” which originally started in Georgia and is now becoming prevalent across the United States of America which has caused voting rights to evolve into a political topic, rather than as part of the country’s democracy.
Bishop Jackson further added that Faith Works is “rising together because our democracy has come under attack from within – and like generations before us, this moment in history and our faith are calling for us to act. It is our hope that you will support this new movement – and that these efforts will be replicated across the country.”
Georgia, a southern state with a known history of racist voter suppression and minority population that is growing has passed many discriminatory and unjust laws. Doing so, has made voting more difficult, particularly for particular groups of voters, including African Americans.
On March 25, 2021, Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, signed an anti-voting rights bill into law. The SB 202 enforces new voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, allowing state officials to take over local election boards and mitigate the use of ballot drop boxes. This new law also makes it a crime for anyone who is not an official poll worker to approach voters in line to offer them water and food. In the past, Kemp has been accused of continually abusing his power to aid his election results in his favour.
Under Kemp’s leadership, Georgia has expelled at least 1.5 million eligible voters, effectively eliminating 10.6 percent of voters from the registered electorate from 2016 to 2018. Furthermore, county election officials have closed 214 polling stations, the majority of which were in minority and poor neighbourhoods. The state also blocks the registration of thousands of Georgians, including newly naturalized citizenship through their screening process called, “exact match”. The exact match process means that state officials only accept new voter registration if their information matches the exact information in state databases, including accents and hyphens in names and typos. Consequently, the exact match process is doing much more harm than good, with the program removing tens of thousands of eligible voters, many of them minorities and individuals from racialized communities.
New data has exposed that there are planned tactics which political leaders in America organize to intimidate and deter eligible voters from participating in the elections.
“Through the tenets of the Civil Rights Movement – education, information, mobilization, confrontation, and reconciliation – Faith Works will serve as a beacon to ensure that every Georgian has the support and information they need to vote and that every Georgian can vote freely and fairly,” shared Georgia Ame Bishop Reginald Jackson on the launch of Faith Works.
Visit www.FaithWorks.Vote to learn more.