Dear Interim Secretary Robyn A. Crittenden,
Congratulations on your appointment as the Interim Secretary of State for our great state. The job represents a huge responsibility to Georgia’s citizens and, therefore, to the future of our collective civic life together. We are well aware of your respected history in government and hope the best for you as you embark on this administrative journey. It is in all of our best interests for you to succeed in this interim task.
Without intending to be overly presumptuous, we’re writing to ask you to consider a number of points of concern and recommendation. We’re taking this step because, like you, we care deeply about the integrity of elections in our state and because we see the protection of participatory democracy and voting rights as a significant part of our roles as faith leaders.
Before getting down to specifics, let us introduce ourselves. We are a diverse group of clergy who represent people of faith across the state. Some have recently been ordained while others have been serving for well over 50 years. Some of us work in the country’s largest houses of worship while others serve small and midsize congregations. We are women and men from various races and ethnicities. What has brought us together is the urgency of this moral moment and a commitment to seek justice in our state because we truly believe the manifestation of social justice what is what love looks like in public and in practice.
Therefore, we write this letter, in the pursuit of justice, to voice our following concerns and recommendations. First, you stated this past Friday upon acceptance of your interim role that you are committed “to election, integrity, transparency, and statutory compliance.” We believe in order for you to be true to this commitment you must make it public that you will NOT certify any election results on county or state level until all absentee, early voting, in person on election day vote and paper ballots such as provisional and oversees/military votes are counted.
There is a widespread public belief that forces within our state’s government have been working to suppress the vote and are using nefarious measures to keep certain votes from being counted. This is evidenced by the thousands of reports of voting complications, problems and intimidation that been communicated by the Georgia citizens since last Tuesday’s election. For this cause, strongly urge you NOT to certify any results until it can be verified that all votes have been cast; and additionally that you use your interim authority to NOT accept the certification of the counties that have already certified their results until investigation has proven all of their cast votes were counted.
Secondly, as you are no doubt well aware. Georgia has in many ways become the poster state for voter suppression and intimidation this midterm election cycle. Over the course of this year a multiplicity of articles, essays, news reports and stories have been written about lack of integrity in the administration of our elections. Your predecessor has been the defendant in a number of law suits and will most certainly face new charges in the days to come. All of this has produced a very low public perception of Georgia’s election system.
However you can play a key role in restoring the electoral reputation of our state by refusing to certify any results until all votes are counted and then ensuring this is done by calling for an automatic recount across all 159 counties. We believe such an act is warranted given all of the unresolved issues and reports related to voter complications and problems. Moreover, we are confident that taking these recommended measures would begin to heal the collective wounds caused by a contentious and hard fought election.
Finally, it should be said that this is a non-partisan petition. Though we all have strong feelings a private citizens about who should lead our state as Governor the purpose of this letter is defend the voting rights of ALL Georgia citizens, no matter their political persuasion. And we believe the only way this can be done is by counting every vote! We trust that you will use your capacity as interim Secretary of State you make sure this happens.
Recognizing that you have until next Tuesday to certify this election we hope you will respond expeditiously to our recommendations. If an effort to demonstrate how serious a moral concern this is we will return with other clergy and citizens from across the state every day leading up the 20th until our recommendations are met and/or responded to.
Thank you for taking the time to read this note. As we said at the outset, we wish you nothing but the best as you step into your new role.
Georgia Justice Clergy Coalition