ATLANTA, GA. -- Faith In Public Life (FIPL) members held a meeting to address voter intimidation and fear of political violence concerning the upcoming election.
The Georgia Campaign Manager of FIPL called on Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, and all election administrators to "Administer a free and fair election, protect voters and co-workers from violence and frivolous voter challenges, and fairly certify the election results determined by the voters."
FIPL is a network of over 50,000 clergy of multi-faith and multi-racial coalition that advocate for the common good by building justice and equity in local communities.
Speakers in attendance delivered strong messages urging officials, administrators, and poll workers to: Allow the will of the people to take place and to prevent any unnecessary and unlawful activity to occur.
Reverend Pharrell Malone said, "It is imperative that state officials walk in a level of integrity" and "Do not allow for their desire to control a situation, to ignore the ballot box."
Reverend Willy Wiley, Pastor of Vanderhorst Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, urged politicians and poll workers to protect people's right to vote by doing the right thing and to recognize everyone has an opinion that may be different than others. He said, "In no way should we allow our own values to infringe on the rights of others to the extent that we want to keep them from exercising their right to vote or accessing any other service that's available to the public."
He ended his message with: Make it clean. Protect the people who have a right to vote just as you have.
Reverend Dr. Donnie Green Sr. delivered a similar message while also shedding light on students in Albany. Dr. Green said he is assisting many students to ensure that they are registered to vote even if they cannot cast their vote in this election. He said, "I'm getting a lot of students that don't know if they're registered or not."
With regard to voter turnout in Albany, Dr. Green said within the last three weeks more people have come out to vote and that he will continue to post daily videos on social media to encourage more voter turnout.
Reverend John Daloney presented a more descriptive message with his interpretation of the voter and political leader's relationship.
Reverend Daloney said Although no one has been physically harmed, "Anytime you infringe on people's constitutional right to vote, it's political violence. It's cultural violence being done to our people." He closed his message with an illustration that compared the silence of victims of sexual abuse to those that do not exercise their right to vote.
His point, "Women take self defense courses and are taught that their first line of defense is to scream and yell "Help!", "Help!" as loud as [they] can. They do that because the woman's silence is to the advantage of the abuser." He said anytime people are being abused at the ballot box, "We do what we're doing right now on this broadcast, we're screaming , Hey! There's an abuse going on in Georgia, there's an abuse going on in Florida".
On how the coalition will support voters come election day, Attorney Gerald A. Briggs, President of Georgia National Association for Advancement of Colored People (GNAACP) informed everyone that the National President, Derrick Johnson, along with Office of General Council, and all the national staff will be mobilized in 159 counties in Georgia to monitor the election on November 8th.
He directed voters to contact (866-OUR-VOTE ) if there are any disturbances or unethical practices and tactics being used at the poll. Members of the coalition will remain readily available on the line to take all calls that come in.