Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens says he wants residents intending to vote on Cop City to have their voices heard. This comes amid the city’s legal battle against those same residents, from publicizing the names of petition signatories to claiming a referendum would be invalid.
But what side of the battle is Dickens really on? While he says one thing, he also refuses to acknowledge voters favoring a referendum.
He’s also establishing a narrative intended to separate the current call for residents to be able to vote on Cop City from Atlanta’s history of voting rights resistance.
”Equating the petition process to voter suppression minimizes actual instances of voter suppression,” said Dickens. He emphasized the costs of the petition process and fraud risk from Stop Cop City fundraising.
But Dickens’ desire to differentiate referendums and elections raises questions about his own motivations and ethics.
After all, where is the concern for Cop City being heavily funded by corporations? Or for voter suppression and police violence going hand in hand? Or for the biases of his administration, to which he hired an Atlanta Police Foundation official as a senior policy advisor?
Dickens, like many others with political power, is willing to use it to suppress the people’s resistance. But the fact that he has that power doesn’t mean the movement against Cop City is any less powerful or legitimate.