— By Roz Edward, Atlanta Daily World, February 10, 2020 —
The King Center and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Monday an extension of their partnership to educate citizens about Georgia’s new secure paper-ballot system. The 100 Congregations Vote initiative has the goal to reach 100 congregations across Georgia to offer on-site voting machine demonstrations and voter readiness. The initiative builds upon The King Center’s current partnership with the Georgia Secretary of State to further the Secure the Vote mission.
“Our number 1 priority is elections security,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “We are thankful to the King Center and 100 Congregations for helping Secure The Vote educate all voters, from all walks of life and belief, of the new upgraded security.”
The partnership between The King Center and Secure the Vote teaches people who are able to visit The King Center campus in Atlanta how to use Georgia’s new voting machines. This new effort will help reach voters in the communities in which they live. This added initiative will also lead to more direct contact with statewide congregations to bring more awareness of The King Center and Secretary of State’s outreach efforts and current exhibit.
The effort is being coordinated by King Center strategic partners and community leaders who are forming a King Center Voter Education Task Force. The initial leaders include Leo Smith of Secure the Vote on behalf of the Secretary of State’s Office. Joining him is youth leader Jared Sawyer Jr. of You Power Purpose, the Rev. Timothy McDonald of First Iconium Baptist Church, and King Center Strategic Partner Alice Eason Jenkins, who is Executive Director at Fund for Southern Communities.
“Voting is the key to power in a free country, and this is a wonderful opportunity to help the faithful learn about tapping into that power,” Sawyer said. “It’s part of the mission of the church to be in the community and to serve the flock, and this project does that perfectly.”
The demonstrations are held in auxiliary buildings or any suitable space preferred by the host congregation. Other congregations and area community members are welcome to attend any of the planned voting machine demonstrations.
Monday’s kick-off was hosted by the Reverend Bettye Holland Williams of Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta Inc., the King Center Voter Education Task Force, and Secure the Vote. Members of Concerned Black Clergy met with Secretary of State officials and other leaders, and tried out the new machines by casting a mock vote.
Secure the Vote operates a website with information about the new system and a short video demonstration at SecureVoteGA.com. It also has a team of voter education coordinators fanned out across the state conducting demonstrations at faith-based organizations, civic clubs and other gatherings.
Congregational or community leaders interested in joining the 100 Congregations voter education effort are asked to contact Leo Smith at (470) 989-8530, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.