Jun 21, 2023 - News

Atlanta clerk approves 'Cop City' petition language

'Cop City' memorial

Activists who want residents to vote on whether Atlanta should fund a public safety training center will soon begin collecting signatures for a November referendum. Photo: Cheney Orr/AFP via Getty Images

Atlanta's municipal clerk has cleared the way for activists who oppose the city's planned public safety training center to start collecting signatures to put the question to voters.

Driving the news: Interim City Clerk Vanessa Waldon on Wednesday approved petition language the Cop City Vote Coalition will use to collect signatures as part of the process to call for a November referendum on the project.

  • Once the city clerk provides official copies of the forms to the activists, they will begin their campaign to collect signatures, according to a press release from the coalition.
  • The coalition said Waldon informed them she will provide the copies by 2pm Thursday.

What they're saying: Dr. Mariah Parker, who filed the original petition and who appeared as plaintiff in a lawsuit against the city clerk, said the group is grateful that Waldon "fulfilled her legal obligation to recognize our repeated efforts to incorporate her requested changes in a timely manner."

  • “We trust that she will return the official copy to us in a timelier fashion than she took with the approval process," Parker said.

The big picture: Organizers now have 60 days to collect the signatures of about 70,000 people, or 15% of registered voters who were eligible to cast ballots in the previous election.

  • If they meet that threshold, the Atlanta City Council will vote to put the referendum on the ballot on Nov. 7.
  • The organization said Tuesday that more than 80 residents have volunteered to serve as "neighborhood captains" and about 3,000 have signed up to be notified when the petition becomes available.

Catch up quick: Several groups opposed to the training center announced their plans to put the question to voters after the City Council earlier this month approved $67 million in public funding toward the $90 million project.

  • The Atlanta Police Foundation has pledged to raise the rest of the necessary money.

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