Updated: Aug 29
ATLANTA – What happened to Atlanta Democrats? Once the beating heart of the civil rights movement, prominent members now are mute while the city government challenges the signatures of everyday people opposing the vilified Cop City project.
“For a party who champions voting rights, ‘it is odd to me to not hear a peep from Senators Ossoff and Warnock or Stacy Abrams on the topic of Atlanta City Democrats using signature matching on the historic referendum to Stop Cop City,” says Oliver, 38, Rolling Stone’s “Most Influential Libertarian” and Libertarian presidential hopeful. “These tactics were condemned by Abrams when she was on the ballot, but when citizens of Atlanta – 100,000 of them – want to put Stop Cop City on the ballot, she is silent. Her silence is deafening support of the Atlanta Police Foundation and the taking of $67 million of taxpayer money to build this facility”
First, on June 7, Atlanta City Council members voted 11-4 to support the project, willfully ignoring the 350+ speakers who snaked around the block and stayed past 2 a.m. to testify against the center that would teach urban pacification tactics – a euphemism for militarized policing. The pricy project’s dubiousness goes deeper: There’s already a training center an hour away in Forsythe, Ga. Worse, it will be built on environmentally fragile land at the former site of the notorious Atlanta Prison Farm.
Every day Atlanta residents fought back, launching a signature drive to put the measure on the ballot to trigger a vote to cancel the lease with the Atlanta Police Foundation to build Cop CIty.
The petitioners met and exceeded 60,000 signatures – the 15 percent of the required registered voters in Atlanta – and turned in 100,000 signatures by the Aug. 21 deadline.
Petitioners typically gather more signatures than required to offset disqualifications through tactics such as signature matching, and disqualifications that can be capricious. The silence is galling when these same prominent Democrats oppose signature matching when their races fall into question.
The city twice appealed the drive’s use of petitioners from outside Atlanta. Twice U.S. District Court Judge Mark H. Cohen shot down their arguments on this standard practice around the country for petition drives, saying that the impact of the project falls disproportionately on citizens, not the city.
Oliver, who has lived in and around Atlanta almost all of his life, notes the irony about the city’s sudden distaste for outside influence. He returns to his testimony when he spoke against Cop City at the June council meeting and challenged the government officials’ assertions that outsiders were stirring up opposition to the project.
“When you say it’s we’re out of towners, that’s a lie,” he said in testimony. “Because the truth is, the people who are out-of-towners are the corporate donors who are backing the Atlanta Police Foundation. They don’t live on Peachtree Street. They live on Wall Street.” “And when they pay for that, who’s going to profit? Not the city of Atlanta, but the private Atlanta Police Foundation.”
Oliver became Georgia’s first openly gay Senate candidate in 2022, and his national attention grew following his debate with incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock and an empty podium set aside for opponent Herschel Walker. Oliver garnered over 80,000 votes and forced a runoff between the Republican and Democratic candidates.
On Aug. 19, Oliver became the first and only third-party presidential candidate to speak at the Iowa Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair. The candidate qualified for his slot after meeting voters while campaigning at the Harrison County Fair on July 22.
To learn more about Chase Oliver, visit votechaseoliver.com.
Oliver is available for media interviews, including university journalism and communications students.
For media requests, please email us at: