Credit: Amanda Andrews / GPB News
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Groups opposing Atlanta police training center seek to put the matter on November ballot
LISTEN: GPB’s Amanda Andrews reports on the announcement of an effort to get the issue on a referendum in time for Atlanta's November elections.
Wednesday morning, a group of Atlanta community leaders announced they filed a referendum with the city to get the construction of the controversial police training center on the ballot.
The referendum could overturn a City Council ordinance approving funding for the $90 million project and put the issue up for a vote on Nov. 7.
- RELATED: Council approves training facility funding; Mayor says Atlanta will be 'model for police reform'
The Atlanta Municipal Clerk has seven days to approve the referendum and provide an official petition. Organizers will then have 60 days to collect signatures from at least 15% of voters who registered in the last election, or around 71,000 signees.
Community Movement Builders Founder Kamau Franklin said it’s unfortunate that people living closest to the site in Dekalb County won’t be able to vote.
“They’ve not been given a voice in this process,” he said. “They’ve not been given a voice by the commissioners in DeKalb County, and they certainly haven’t been given a voice by the people here in Atlanta, or the mayor here in Atlanta.”
Once collected, the petitions will go to the city council to validate the signatures, placing the measure on the November ballot. Community leaders at the press conference said they will aim to collect well over the minimum required signatures.
Scarlett Mayoralgo, who works with the Georgia Working Families Party, she said the group is launching a robust canvassing effort to make that happen.
“We're hitting the pavement; we're knocking on doors,” she said. “And don't be surprised when you see us in your neighborhood, at your block party, at your music festival, activating Atlantans around this issue.”
Precedent for a referendum being used in this way was established in a Camden County case that was decided in the Georgia Supreme Court earlier this year.
The Atlanta Municipal Clerk has until June 16 to approve the referendum, so the deadline to collect signatures would be Aug. 15 at the latest.