Judge grants "Stop Cop City" activists more time for referendum push
A judge has given activists protesting the city's public safety training center an extra month to collect signatures to put the issue onto the ballot.
Driving the news: In a Thursday decision, a federal judge ruled in favor of four DeKalb citizens who argued that non-Atlanta residents should be allowed to collect signatures for the petition calling for a November referendum. (Only Atlanta residents are permitted to sign.)
- The judge also reset the 60-day window activists have to collect signatures — giving them a new deadline of Sept. 25, said Brian Spears, an attorney representing the plaintiffs.
- Valid signatures collected since June 21, the start of the original window, will still count, too.
Why it matters: The ruling gives activists more time to meet the uphill task of collecting 70,000 signatures of Atlantans registered to vote in 2021 — plus thousands more in case some are rejected during the vetting process.
- Organizers reported earlier this week that they’ve collected more than 30,000 so far, according to the AJC.
What they’re saying: Spears told Axios they are "delighted" that the judge moved so quickly.
- "It's a very time sensitive matter and we are looking forward to the petition process and the canvassing process to continue forward with our clients’ full participation," he said.
The other side: A city spokesperson said the city clerk has been made aware of the judge's ruling, and new petitions have already been sent to the advocates.
- "The choice is simple," the statement reads. "We can either have the best-trained firefighters and police officers or we can decide to settle for sub-par training conditions in sub-par facilities."
- The city also said its "comprehensive public safety plan" is working, as violent crime is down by 30% from last year.
- The campaign recently received a major financial boost from James "Fergie" Chambers, a member of the Cox family who posted last week on social media that he will donate $600,000 towards the referendum.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a statement from the city and the petition's new deadline.
Disclosure: Axios is owned by Cox Enterprises.
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