Georgia Redistricting Alliance Calls for Transparency in Redistricting Process




Karuna Ramachandran,

Georgia Redistricting Alliance Calls for Transparency in Redistricting Process

Friday, February 5, 2021 (ATLANTA, GA) – Amidst a barrage of anti-voting bills dropped in both chambers of Georgia’s legislature, Georgia’s Senate and House have both introduced resolutions that propose an amendment to the state constitution to provide that legislative and congressional redistricting would be conducted by a nonpartisan, independent redistricting commission instead of Georgia’s general assembly. Senate Resolution 20 and House Resolution 55 (also cited as the Democracy Act) call for the creation of a “Citizens Redistricting Commission” that would be responsible for redistricting in Georgia. The resolutions also call for the creation of an online portal through which the public can access map proposals and submit their own maps for consideration as well.

“For years, we have advocated for redistricting to be conducted before the public eye. We have had to remain ever vigilant against voter suppression and we know that gerrymandering [the process of manipulating district lines to ensure a candidate’s success] is a very powerful form of voter suppression. When redistricting is conducted behind closed doors, we know we have a battle before us to protect and defend our communities,” says Helen Butler, Executive Director of The Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda.

In Georgia, redistricting is decided upon by the general assembly, which usually means that legislators in office get to use their power to ensure they will get re-elected, regardless of what voters want. Advocates with the Georgia Redistricting Alliance (GRA) – a coalition of organizations working towards fair, equitable, and transparent redistricting with a racial equity lens – have pushed for greater transparency with this process, which largely takes place behind closed doors.

According to Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of GALEO, “Having an independent, citizens redistricting commission in Georgia is one step towards equitable and transparent redistricting however the commission alone is not enough. Fair redistricting includes the voices of those disproportionately affected by racial and partisan gerrymandering of the past. And in order to have a voice, these communities need the education about and access to the process.”

Language access continues to be a concern for redistricting and voting rights advocates. “We can no longer conduct such critical processes in English-only. By doing so we exclude thousands of Georgians who deserve to have their voices heard,” shares Stephanie Cho, Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta.

Gigi Pedraza, Executive Director of LCF-Georgia shares, “We commend resolution sponsors for making strides to reform Georgia’s redistricting process. Much work lies ahead to have meaningful and transformative changes that will ensure our communities are truly represented. The GRA is committed to strengthening our relationships with community members across the state so that together we can make this change a reality.”

To learn more about the Georgia Redistricting Alliance (GRA) and our member organizations, please visit

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Georgia Votes Declares: Don’t Bother My Ballot


CONTACT: Adam Sweat, 678-951-2172

Georgia Votes Declares: Don’t Bother My Ballot 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 (ATLANTA, GA) – Yesterday, on the heels of a string of proposed legislation that aims to roll back Georgia voters’ access to the ballot, Georgia Votes held a press conference demanding fair and transparent election laws for the state.

“After what many would argue was the most successful election in Georgia history given the volume of voter turnout especially during a pandemic, we are now faced with the specter of regressive laws that seek to suppress the voices and votes of Georgia residents,” said Helen Butler, Executive Director of the Coalition for the People’s Agenda. “There has been no evidence to date of massive absentee voting fraud in Georgia or elsewhere in the 2020 election cycle,” she continued, “and there should be no rush to change a process based upon false narratives about absentee ballot fraud.”

Georgia Votes collaborative includes: All Voting is Local-Georgia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Black Voters Matters, Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Common Cause Georgia, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, LCF Georgia, League of Women Voters of Georgia, Georgia NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, The New Georgia Project, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The collaborative rejected baseless claims of voter fraud and emphasized a need to expand, rather than suppress the voting rights of communities across the state.

“Georgia’s systems are set up to be secure and have multiple failsafes to prevent improper voting. Elections officials double-check absentee ballot applications and returned ballots against the voter rolls,” said Aunna Dennis, Executive Director of Common Cause. “Elections officials perform signature verification on both the application and the outside envelope of voted ballots. Voters with internet access are able to track their ballots online. The system is set up to be secure — and it works. The Cobb County audit proved that.”

The collaborative insists that there are alternative means for confirming the identity of voters who submit absentee ballot applications and ballots that are far less burdensome than any of the proposals set forth thus far.  With nearly a dozen new voter restriction laws introduced in the last week, Georgia Votes is on high alert and prepared to mobilize to make sure that Georgia state legislators know that voters want more – not fewer – options to participate in the democratic process.

“Copying photo IDs multiple times during an election cycle is an unreasonable and unnecessary burden on voters,” said Jerry Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials. “In a single election cycle, voters could be forced to make 10 or more copies of their photo ID to enclose with each application for an absentee ballot and with the ballot itself. This is just another attempt to curtail the rights of everyday Georgians and to make it harder for diverse, underrepresented and unserved members of our community to vote.”

This proposed legislation would place an undue burden on the communities of color that showed record turn out in Georgia’s 2020 election cycle.

AAPI voters, along with Black and Hispanic voters, proved instrumental to the historic voter turnout we’ve seen over the past year. “Bills such as SB 29 take a direct aim at the culture of civic engagement that we’ve been able to build in Georgia. This bill and bills like it are detrimental to voters of all kinds, not just because of race and color, but also because of socioeconomic status,” said LaVita Tuff, Policy Director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta. “If we dont push back on bills of this kind, we will continue to see a false narrative painted and stated against voters that are untrue, not sustainable, and will continue to threaten their civic engagement and civil rights. We cannot stand for it.”

The full press conference can be viewed here.

About Georgia Votes
Georgia Votes is a bold, trusted, and diverse collaborative that champions an equitable and inclusive democracy, for and with traditionally underrepresented communities. Georgia Votes supports and coordinates the civic engagement programs of our diverse partner organizations, and develops the infrastructure, executes the joint strategies, and employs new tools and technology to assure a government that is more responsive to the needs of our constituencies.

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GALEO Announces the 14th Annual Cesar Chavez Essay Contest. Great Prizes Included! Deadline: February 28, 2021



Jerry Gonzalez, GALEO,, 678.691.1086, for media inquiries.

Polo Vargas, GALEO,, 770.558.2236, for contest questions.

(Norcross, Georgia) – January 29, 2021 –

The GALEO Leadership Council has announced details for the 14th Annual Cesar Chavez Essay Contest. The intention of the contest is to increase awareness of the continual plight of farm workers and their contributions to America while honoring civil rights legend Cesar Chavez.

Chavez’s leadership was critical to organizing farm workers and founding what is today known as the United Farm Workers union. Chavez remains one of the foremost Latino leaders in American history. His birthday is recognized as a state holiday in California, Colorado and Texas, and GALEO supports the movement to create a national holiday in honor of Chavez.

High school students and adults residing in the state of Georgia are encouraged to participate and submit their essays for consideration in one of three categories. Categories include:

  • Adult category (essays submitted in Spanish or English)
  • High school student category (essays submitted in Spanish or English)
  • ESOL high school student category (essays submitted in English by ESOL students)

Deadline for submissions is February 28, 2021.

All eligible entries received by the deadline will be judged equally on the following criteria: clarity of message, creativity, accuracy of content, potential to draw attention to policies which improve the lives of farm workers, and conventions of writing an essay.

First, second, and third place winners from each category will receive prizes accordingly:

  • 1st Place Winners – $200 Amazon Gift Card
  • 2nd Place Winners – $75 Gift Card
  • 3rd Place Winners – $50 Gift Card

Visit for official rules, regulations, and registration, as well as to submit your essay electronically.

If you choose to mail your essay instead, please print out, fill out the registration form, and mail the registration form with your essay. You can find the printable registration form here:

“Cesar Chavez is an American hero, and we want Georgians to learn more about his legacy,” said Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO. “This contest helps educate students and adults alike and brings attention to the importance of farmworkers in our state,” he added.

The Cesar Chavez Essay contest is coordinated and led by the GALEO Leadership Council. The GALEO Leadership Council is comprised of alumni of the GALEO Institute for Leadership and GALEO members statewide.

MAKE SURE TO INCLUDE THE OFFICIAL ENTRY FORM that must accompany any essay.

These are the essay topics (Choose One):

  1. Why are farm workers important in Georgia?
  2. Cesar Chavez & Rev. Martin L. King, Jr. both believed in peaceful nonviolent protests. Why was this ideology important to the civil rights movement?
  3. How has Cesar Chavez influenced your life and what impact will his work have on your future?
  4. Why should we have a national holiday honoring Cesar Chavez?
  5. How did Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta both ensure that the United Farm Workers union was a success story?


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RELEASE: Experts and Advocates Discuss Legalization of Undocumented Essential Workers in Economic Recovery as More Than 500 Organizations Call on Congress To Act

Center for American Progress Logo

For Immediate Release
January 22, 2021

Claudia Montecinos


RELEASE: Experts and Advocates Discuss Legalization of Undocumented Essential Workers in Economic Recovery as More Than 500 Organizations Call on Congress To Act

Washington, D.C. — As President Joe Biden and Congress begin work on a coronavirus relief and economic recovery package, a diverse group of more than 500 national, state, and local organizations representing a broad range of interests and constituencies wrote to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The signatories requested that Congress use all necessary legislative tools to include in such legislation permanent protection and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, particularly Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and the estimated 5 million undocumented workers who have been on the front lines during this pandemic, as well as their families.

The letter was released during a press call featuring experts and advocates who articulated why including a path to citizenship for these individuals is a critical tool to ensure that the recovery is as bold, dynamic, inclusive, and equitable as it needs to be to meet the many challenges the country is facing today.

After the press call, Tom Jawetz, vice president of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, said:

For the coronavirus relief and economic recovery package to rise to the multiple challenges facing the country today—for it to be sufficiently dynamic and equitable—it must include permanent protection and a path to citizenship for undocumented essential workers and their families, as well as Dreamers and TPS holders, who have long contributed to this country and who continue to show up when we need them most. Congress must use every tool at its disposal—including the budget reconciliation process—to lay the groundwork for a recovery that is resilient and just.

Felicia Wong, president and CEO at the Roosevelt Institute, said:

When COVID-19 struck, more than 5 million undocumented essential workers kept our economy going at great risk to themselves and their families. Enough is enough. We must build an inclusive economy that works for all; we must make sure that essential workers have legal protections. It is not just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do. It’s good for the economy.

The deputy vice president for Policy and Advocacy at UnidosUS, Clarissa Martínez-de-Castro, added:

We cannot have the health and economic recovery that we need for the nation if we don’t include all those who are caring for our country. We have an opportunity to do just that, and it includes citizens and immigrants alike. Immigrant workers have been standing up for us, and now it is our time to stand up for them. We are doing just that by fighting for the inclusion and protection of these workers in relief and economic recovery legislation and using every legislative tool, including a budget reconciliation. The Biden administration priorities of addressing COVID 19, racial justice, and economic recovery, all in the context of unifying the country around shared values, require us and Congress to move forward boldly.

Montserrat Garibay, secretary-treasurer at the Texas AFL-CIO, said:

When our country extends rights and protections to more workers, we all benefit. When more people are forced to work in fear and without rights, we are all at greater risk. So, we all have a stake in the immigration fight. It directly affects our ability to lift labor standards, keep all workers safe, and build worker power.

Dr. Diana Andino, a neurology specialist and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, said:

I am one of the estimated 29,000 DACA recipients who are health care workers. During my time in medical school, I dealt with the fear and anxiety of not having a legal status. I managed to push through, and this in some way prepared me to navigate some of the hardest moments and challenges of a global health pandemic. I am hopeful that we can heal together as a nation, but in order to do so, I hope that this country recognizes the people who are taking care of us. I am on the front lines, and I want to have the peace of mind of a permanent legal status so that I can continue caring for my patients and community.

Click here to read the letter and see the list of signatories.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Claudia Montecinos at


The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

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The Elections are Over! Now What? / ¡Las elecciones han terminado! ¿Y ahora qué?

(Image taken from “The Election is Over – Now What?”)

The Elections are Over! Now What?

Laura Jimenez

Georgians, we finally made it to the finish line of this election season. From the primary elections, to primary runoffs, to the general election, and finally to the January 5th runoff, we have endured the longest election cycle in the country this year. Even before the elections, we have, as a nation, begun seriously grappling with issues of race and social justice that have taken over our media consumption in unprecedented ways.

The year was a beautiful manifestation of what empowering the voice of the people can look like, regardless of the opinions held. 2020 has shown many of us the value of civic and political engagement, staying informed, and using our power as a single person to create a world that more of us would be proud of. Needless to say, though, all of these powerful lessons came at a high cost. After months of receiving countless pamphlets in the mail, signing petitions, scrolling through thousands of news articles, and standing in line at the polls, most of us are exhausted. Civic engagement burnout is real and it’s happening to us at alarming rates. Wanting to disconnect from it all after a year of so much participation, voluntary or involuntary, is normal.

However, there are issues and movements that survive this election season that will continue to require our attention. So then, how do we balance this need to disconnect with this duty to stay connected? Here are some tips from a person who constantly needs to remind herself that there’s life outside of civic engagement and politics.

First and foremost, a habit that might be necessary but most difficult to employ is to intentionally set times to inform yourself. Knowing the issues is important, don’t get me wrong. The fact that it consumes so many areas of your life, however, is the reason civic engagement fatigue is so pervasive. This should decrease significantly as the news about the runoff begins to quiet down, but continuing to limit your news intake to tolerable levels is important.

One way to do this might be to control the sources you receive information from (Aleman, 2020). For me, one of the hardest pills to swallow is that my engagement burnout is typically self-inflicted. I consume more Twitter and Facebook politics than I’m proud of, and I know that this is the case for many people. From reading through and participating in heated discourse in the comments to sorting through misinformation, staying informed about politics through social media is exhausting and seldom fruitful.

Commit yourself to finding information in places that don’t raise your blood pressure in the way that social media does. There are plenty of secondary sources that provide more objective information that keeps you educated and helps you develop opinions that are substantiated by fact. In addition to this, social media is a place where you can easily surround yourself with sources that continue to support your beliefs. By actively having to seek better sources, you open yourself to the possibility of not only understanding your stances on the issues, but the stances of others as well. It’s a win-win, both for your knowledge of the world around you and for your personal mental health.

Speaking of mental health, do you remember what your mental health was like before 2020 brought a pandemic, lockdowns, and a rowdy election cycle? Sometimes, I don’t either. A simple thing that might be necessary to return to as this new year begins is indulging in the things that spark joy for us. Sure, we need to stay informed to know how we can be agents of change in our communities. We can still do that though, while finally learning how to make those garlic and chives bread rolls we saw a tutorial for months ago. We can still engage civically while giving ourselves time to disconnect over a video of astronauts critiquing space movies. We must remember what it’s like to be ourselves despite the things around us that demand our attention. Learning how to set these boundaries for yourself will allow you to stay energized for the things that matter while maintaining a healthy balance with the things that make your life happier (Aleman, 2020).

As I have learned how to prioritize my mental health while staying engaged civically and politically, I have found that one of the most beneficial practices was practicing proactivity, not reactivity. This has been easiest for me to accomplish in the realm of local engagement. When we read news about politics, it is difficult to find where it is you fit into the equation. Sometimes, your single vote seems insignificant in the sea of millions of votes. This feels especially true when the primary source of engagement comes from reacting to news that gets updated on what feels like a minute-to-minute basis.

What I discovered, from my time at GALEO especially, was that if I devote my time doing versus reacting to what is done, I feel much more accomplished. Being able to see the fruits of my work and know that what I am doing is making a difference has changed the game for me entirely. Focusing on how my actions and my vote directly affects the community around me is invigorating and gives you clear, defined goals. I cannot recommend this enough. Pick an issue you’re passionate about, and put yourself in a position to actively and intentionally do something about it. That might look like joining and volunteering for a special interest group, joining a campaign during the next election cycle, or even taking advantage of resources provided by GALEO. Tie your service and engagement to your passions, and I can assure you that there is very little that will wear you out.

As my time as an intern at GALEO comes to a close, I take these lessons with me to my future ventures. As exhausting as this year was for all of us, I am excited to continue the work that needs to be done in our communities while remembering to be kind to myself. Inciting change requires energy, momentum, and a lot of balance. I hope that these tips are gentle reminders that allow us to more successfully embark on journeys that lead to better versions of ourselves and of our communities.


¡Las elecciones han terminado! ¿Y ahora qué?

Laura Jiménez

Georgianos, finalmente llegamos a la línea de meta de esta temporada electoral. Desde las elecciones primarias, las eliminatorias primarias, las elecciones generales y, finalmente, la segunda vuelta del 5 de enero, hemos soportado el ciclo electoral más largo del país este año. Incluso antes de las elecciones, como nación, hemos comenzado a pensar seriamente en cuestiones de raza y justicia social que se han apoderado de nuestro consumo de entretenimiento de manera sin precedentes.

El año fue una hermosa manifestación del poder de la voz de la gente, independientemente de las opiniones mantenidas. El 2020 nos ha mostrado a muchos de nosotros el valor del compromiso cívico y político, manteniéndonos informados y usando nuestro poder como una sola persona para crear un mundo del que más de nosotros estaríamos orgullosos. No hace falta decir, sin embargo, que todas estas poderosas lecciones tuvieron un alto costo. Después de meses de recibir innumerables panfletos en el correo, firmar peticiones, recorrer miles de artículos de noticias, y estar en fila en las urnas, la mayoría de nosotros estamos agotados. El desgaste cívico es real y nos está pasando a un ritmo alarmante. Querer desconectarse de todo después de un año de tanta participación, voluntaria o involuntaria, es normal.

Sin embargo, hay cuestiones y movimientos que sobreviven esta temporada electoral que seguirán requiriendo nuestra atención. Entonces, ¿cómo equilibramos esta necesidad de desconectarnos con este deber de permanecer conectados? Aquí hay algunos consejos de una persona que constantemente necesita recordarse a sí misma que hay vida fuera del compromiso cívico y la política.

En primer lugar, un hábito que podría ser necesario pero más difícil de emplear es fijar intencionalmente los tiempos para informarse. Tener conocimiento de los problemas sociales es importante, no me malinterpreten. El hecho de que consuma tantas áreas de su vida, sin embargo, es la razón del desgaste cívico. Esto debería disminuir significativamente a medida que las noticias sobre la segunda vuelta comienzan a calmarse, pero continuar limitando su ingesta de noticias a niveles tolerables es importante.

Una forma de hacerlo podría ser controlar las fuentes de las que recibes información (Aleman, 2020). Para mí, mi agotamiento cívico es típicamente auto-infligido. Yo consumo más política de Twitter y Facebook de lo que estoy orgullosa, y sé que este es el caso de muchas personas. Desde leer y participar en una acalorada discusión en los comentarios hasta leer mucha desinformación, mantenerse informado sobre la política a través de las redes sociales es agotador y rara vez fructífero.

Comprométete a encontrar información en lugares que no eleven tu presión arterial de la manera en que lo hacen las redes sociales. Hay un montón de fuentes secundarias que proporcionan información más objetiva que te mantiene educado y te ayuda a desarrollar opiniones que se fundamentan en hechos. Además de esto, las redes sociales son un lugar donde puedes rodearte fácilmente de fuentes que continúan apoyando tus creencias. Al tener que activamente buscar mejores fuentes, te abres a la posibilidad no solo de entender tus propias posturas sobre los temas importantes, sino también las posturas de los demas. Todo el mundo gana, tanto por su conocimiento del mundo que le rodea como o su salud mental personal

Hablando de salud mental, ¿recuerdas cómo era tu salud mental antes de 2020 trajo una pandemia, encierros, y un ciclo electoral caótico? A veces, yo tampoco. Una cosa simple que podría ser necesaria para restaurar nuestra salud mental es disfrutar de las cosas que nos traen alegría. Claro, necesitamos estar informados para saber cómo podemos ser agentes de cambio en nuestras comunidades. Todavía podemos hacer eso, pero tal vez también finalmente puedas aprender a hacer los rollos de pan de ajo y cebollino que viste en un tutorial hace meses. Todavía podemos participar cívicamente mientras nos damos tiempo para desconectar sobre un video de astronautas criticando películas hechas acerca del espacio. Debemos recordar lo que es ser nosotros mismos a pesar de las cosas que nos rodean que demandan nuestra atención. Aprender a establecer estos límites por ti mismo te permitirá mantenerte energizado para las cosas que importan mientras mantienes un equilibrio saludable con las cosas que hacen tu vida más feliz (Aleman, 2020).

A medida que he aprendido a priorizar mi salud mental mientras me mantengo comprometida cívica y políticamente, he encontrado que una de las prácticas más beneficiosas era practicar la proactividad, no la reactividad. Esto ha sido más fácil de lograr en el ámbito del compromiso local. Cuando leemos noticias sobre la política, es difícil encontrar dónde encajas en la ecuación. A veces, tu voto parece insignificante en el mar de millones de votos. Esto se siente especialmente cierto cuando la principal fuente de compromiso proviene de reaccionar a noticias que se actualizan constantemente.

Lo que descubrí, especialmente en mi tiempo en GALEO, fue que si dedico mi tiempo a hacer en cambio de reaccionar, me siento mucho más realizada. Ser capaz de ver los frutos de mi trabajo y saber que lo que estoy haciendo está haciendo una diferencia ha cambiado el compromiso cívico para mí por completo. Centrarse en cómo mis acciones y mi voto afectan directamente a la comunidad que me rodea es vigorizante y te da metas claras y definidas. No puedo recomendar esto lo suficiente. Elige un tema que te apasione y ponte en posición de hacer algo al respecto de manera activa e intencional. Eso podría significar unirse y ser voluntario para un grupo de interés especial, unirse a una campaña durante el próximo ciclo electoral, o incluso aprovechar los recursos proporcionados por GALEO. Ata tu servicio y compromiso a tus pasiones, y puedo asegurarte que hay muy poco que te canse.

A medida que mi tiempo como pasante en GALEO llega a su fin, llevo estas lecciones conmigo a mis futuras aventuras. Aunque este año fue agotador para todos nosotros, me emociona continuar el trabajo que se necesita hacer en nuestras comunidades mientras recuerdo que mi salud mental también debe ser priorizada. Incitar al cambio requiere energía, impulso y mucho equilibrio. Espero que estos consejos sean recordatorios suaves que nos permitan embarcarnos con más éxito en viajes que nos lleven a mejores versiones de nosotros mismos y de nuestras comunidades.

Works Cited

Aleman, L. (2020, June 24). 4 Steps to Dealing with Political Burnout. Retrieved January 03,

2021, from

The Election is Over – Now What? (2020, October 30). Retrieved January 14, 2021, from

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at  

NOTA: Las opiniones expresadas en este blog son sólo las opiniones del autor. No es de suponer que las opiniones sean de GALEO o el GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. Para la posición oficial sobre cualquier tema de GALEO, por favor contacte a Jerry González, CEO de GALEO en

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Georgia Voter ID Laws Impact on Latinx communities / El impacto que las leyes de identificación de votantes de Georgia tienen en las comunidades latinas

By Giselle Simental

The movement to suppress minority voters from exercising their legal rights has taken on a new name. Voter Identification Laws have been enacted in multiple states with Georgia being one of the strictest.

But what are Voter Identification Laws? Per the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Voting Identification laws say that, “voters must present one of a limited set of forms of government-issued photo ID in order to cast a regular ballot – no exceptions”.

These laws were enacted to target minority communities. How? Voter ID laws are strict. The minority community

tends to have very distinct names. Names that could potentially be messed up with a single letter. If the voter shows up to the polling place and their name is off by one letter, the voter will be turned away.

Also, minority voters disproportionately lack IDs. Nationally, up to 25% of African-American citizens of voting age lack government-issued photo ID, compared to only 8% of whites (ACLU).

Voter ID laws reduce turnout among minority voters. Several studies, including a 2014  Government Accountability Office (GAO)  study, have found that photo ID laws have a particularly depressive effect on turnout among racial minorities and other vulnerable groups, worsening the participation gap between voters of color and whites.

Next time you find yourself renewing your government ID, please make sure to double check your information, and most importantly, your name.


El movimiento para impedir que los votantes minoritarios ejerzan sus derechos legales ha adquirido un nuevo nombre. Leyes de Identificación de Votantes han sido promulgadas en varios estados, con Georgia siendo un de los más estrictos.

Pero, ¿qué son las Leyes de Identificación de Votantes? Según la Unión Estadounidense de Libertades Civiles (American Civil Liberties Union, o “ACLU”), las leyes de Identificación de Votantes dicen que, “los votantes deben presentar uno de un conjunto limitado de formas de identificación con foto emitida por el gobierno para emitir una boleta regular – sin excepciones”. (ACLU)

Estas leyes fueron promulgadas para atacar a las comunidades minoritarias.

¿Cómo? Las leyes de identificación de votantes son estrictas. La comunidad minoritaria tiende a tener nombres muy distintos. Nombres que potencialmente podrían ser confundidos con una sola letra. Si el votante aparece en el lugar de votación y su nombre está mal por una letra, el votante será rechazado.

Además, los votantes minoritarios carecen desproporcionadamente de identificación. A nivel nacional, hasta el 25% de los ciudadanos afroamericanos en edad de votar carecen de identificación con foto emitida por el gobierno, en comparación con sólo el 8% de los blancos (ACLU).

Las leyes de identificación de votantes reducen la participación entre los votantes minoritarios. Varios estudios, incluyendo un estudio de Oficina de Responsabilidad Gubernamental   (Government Accountability Office, o “GAO”,   2014)  han encontrado que las leyes de identificación fotográfica tienen un efecto particularmente depresivo en la participación entre las minorías raciales y otros grupos vulnerables, empeorando la brecha de participación entre los votantes de color y blancos.

La próxima vez que usted se encuentre renovando su ID de gobierno, por favor asegúrese de revisar su información, y lo más importante, su nombre.


NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at  


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Undocumented People Are Unable to Vote but Continue to Mobilize and Impact U.S. Elections

(Image from PBS)

by Jennifer Manzano, Fall 2020 Intern

The right to vote is deeply embedded in the core principle of the United States. Many of us grow up hearing how people have historically fought for this right through actions such as the Civil Rights and Women’s Suffrage Movements. Voting is broadcasted as a right and duty of citizens to adhere to our democratic system and hold the power in change that is to cast a vote. However, to over 11 million people in the U.S., the act of standing at a voting poll to submit a ballot is not obtainable nor the reality. With over 11 million people who are undocumented and approximately 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, roughly 3 percent of the U.S. population is ineligible to exercise the act of voting for a candidate.

Much how immigrants have historically created their own light at the end of a tunnel, not having this traditional ability to elect their representatives has not silenced our undocumented community. Many have taken this matter into their own hands and created their own path to amplifying their voices and ensuring they have a say in what happens during elections. Seeing the grassroot movement in a heavy election period such as in 2020 is nothing new; undocumented youth and immigrants are often the first to mobilize and be at the frontline to impacting their communities. These courageous acts often come with the risk of arrest and great vulnerability to being open about personal stories and experiences.

A study conducted by the organization United We Dream found that 94.4 percent of DACA recipients reported that they were planning to encourage friends and family to vote in upcoming elections. This study found that 46.1 percent of DACA recipients have increased their political involvement after receiving DACA. Nationally, initiatives by immigrant organizations have been a key to encouraging and increasing undocumented peoples’ political involvement. Advocacy groups such as Aliento Votes (based in Arizona) and Here to Stay Squad (a campaign under United We Dream) have recruited over 95,000 people to mobilize and stress the importance of voting for upcoming elections.

With reaching millions of eligible voters through phone banking, canvassing, conversations, teach-ins, and other voter reach innovations, undocumented people are refueling our nation’s stance on voting while educating their peers. Our undocumented community refuses to be silenced by the policies in place. Instead, it continues to achieve what was once thought to be unbelievable.

How to Support Undocumented People During an Election Period?

1. Don’t ignore harmful policies or rhetoric surrounding immigration

During elections, we all have policies that are first on our mind and at the top of our priority list. However, don’t allow your priorities to completely ignore the reality and status of others. Make time to educate yourself and even question “How can I create allyship?”.

2. Support people who want to use their voices during the elections

This can be done in a variety of ways but the foundation of this is to simply listen. Actively have these important conversations regarding policies and elections to hear their perspective and knowledge on the topics at hand. You can even go so far as to create a space for these conversations or join them in the act.

3. Check-in

Elections can be emotionally heavy and draining. Especially if your peers are out in the field speaking to hundreds of people a day. Take a moment to check-in on these individuals and see if there is anything you can do to aid them.

Immigration Advocacy Organizations to Check Out

  • Aliento
  • Mijente
  • Movimiento Cosecha
  • United We Dream


Hancock, C., Smith, C., Svajlenka, N. Young voters have the power to support dreamers this November. Center for American Progress. October 2018.

Home | Latino Americans. (n.d.). Retrieved January 05, 2021, from

Munoz, Jose. Even with COVID-19 and changes to DACA, DACA recipients are civically engaged ahead of the elections. United We Dream. Oct 2020.

Williams, Amanda. These DACA Recipients Can’t Vote, But They Want To Make Sure

You Do. NPR. Oct 2020.

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at  

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Jerry Gonzalez, GALEO’s CEO, named as one of the “100 Most Influential Georgians” in 2021

Norcross, Georgia, January 4, 2021 – For a ninth time, Georgia Trend Magazine has named Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO, as one of the “100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2020.

“On behalf of GALEO’s Board of Directors, we congratulate Jerry for being recognized as one of Georgia’s 100 Most Influential Georgians. Georgia Latino turnout increased by more than 70% in 2020 compared to 2016, and it was partly due to GALEO’s work under Jerry’s leadership. We are proud of Jerry and excited about his continued leadership in our community. His recognition in Georgia Trend Magazine is well-deserved,” said Jason Esteves, Chair of GALEO Chair of the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education.

The list also added and kept several other Latinx leaders: Angel Cabrera, President, Georgia Institute of Technology; Dr. Carlos Del Rio, Hubert Professor and Chair, Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Professor of Medicine, Emory University; and Ivan Shammas,General Manager & General Sales Manager, Telemundo Atlanta.

From Georgia Trend Magazine, January 2021:

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort or convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy,” said Martin Luther King, Jr.

His words are as applicable today as they were when he wrote them in 1963, as the world continues to face the challenges and controversies of pandemic, economic recession and political fighting.

Some of the “100 Most Influential Georgians” list includes:

  • Stacey Abrams, Founder & Chair, Fair Fight Action
  • Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Air Lines
  • Gary Black, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Agriculture
  • Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor, City of Atlanta
  • Paul Bowers, Chair & CEO, Georgia Power
  • Karen Bremer, CEO, Georgia Restaurant Association
  • Angel Cabrera, President, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Chris Carr, Attorney General of Georgia
  • Ben Chestnut, Co-founder & CEO, MailChimp
  • Chris Clark, President & CEO, Georgia Chamber of Commerce
  • Danah Craft, Executive Director, Georgia Food Bank Association
  • Dr. Carlos Del Rio, Hubert Professor and Chair, Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Professor of Medicine, Emory University
  • Geoff Duncan, Lt. Governor of Georgia
  • Jerry Gonzalez, CEO, GALEO
  • Steve Gooch, Majority Whip, Georgia Senate
  • Jan Jones, Speaker Pro-Tempore, Georgia House of Representatives
  • Brian Kemp, Governor of Georgia
  • Milton Little, President & CEO, United way of Greater Atlanta
  • Nick Masino, President & CEO, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce
  • Sharon Mason, President & CEO, Cobb Chamber of Commerce
  • Harold Melton, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia
  • Craig Menear, Chair, CEO & President, The Home Depot
  • Butch Miller, President Pro-Tempore, Georgia Senate
  • Felicia Moore, President, Atlanta City Council
  • Jeffrey Parker, CEO & General Manager, MARTA
  • David Perdue, U.S. Senator
  • Tyler Perry, Actor, Director, Producer, Writer, Philanthropist, Founder, Tyler Perry Studios
  • James Quincy, President & CEO, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Brad Raffensperger, Secretary of State, Georgia
  • David Ralston, Speaker, Georgia House of Representatives
  • Dr. Robert Redfield, Director, Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  • David Shafer, Chair, Georgia Republican Party
  • Ivan Shammas,General Manager & General Sales Manager, Telemundo Atlanta
  • Nathaniel Smith, Founder and Chief Equity Officer, Partnership for Southern Equity
  • Michael Thurmond, CEO, DeKalb County
  • Carol Tome, CEO, UPS
  • Dr. Kathleen Toomey, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Public Health
  • Kyle Waide, President & CEO, Atlanta Community Food Bank
  • Nikema Williams, Congresswoman, U.S. House of Representatives and Chair of the Georgia Democratic Party

Read more online:

Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO & the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund biography is online here:

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PRESS RELEASE: Re: Increase Ballot Drop Boxes to Ensure the Right to Vote in Georgia’s Runoff Elections

December 21, 2020

Honorable Brad Raffensperger

Georgia Secretary of State

214 State Capitol

Atlanta, GA 30334

Re: Increase Ballot Drop Boxes to Ensure the Right to Vote in Georgia’s Runoff Elections

Copied to:  All Georgia County Election Supervisors

Dear Secretary of State Raffensperger:

We write to urge you to direct Georgia’s County Election Supervisors to install secure ballot drop boxes and make them accessible to all eligible voters in the state so that they can safely exercise their right to vote in the January 5th runoff elections.

We are grateful for your responsible leadership prior to the November 3 general election, during which, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, you encouraged eligible voters in Georgia to use absentee voting, including through the use of ballot drop boxes . However, based on a data analysis conducted by the non-partisan human rights organization Human Rights Watch, the inequities in drop box access in the state are pronounced.

The county in which a Georgia citizen resides should not determine whether they can safely cast their ballot. The current distribution of ballot drop boxes in the state creates unequal access to the right to vote in the state. In fact, 15 counties in Georgia do not have a single drop box. Of counties with drop boxes, Henry, Forsyth, Columbia, and Coweta counties are the four least accessible, with just one ballot drop box for 100,000 – 150,000 eligible voters in each county. Quitman, Webster, Clay, and Baker counties are the four most accessible, with one for every 2,000 eligible voters. Figures 1, 2, and 3 enclosed below show the extreme maldistribution of drop boxes between Georgia counties.

As you know, the new Covid-19 case rate in Georgia is increasing in many counties, yet many of these counties have an extreme shortage of accessible ballot drop boxes. Figure 4 below shows the counties with the highest rates of Covid-19 new case rates, using data from mid-November. Out of the 30 counties in Georgia with the highest rates at that time, the vast majority (22 counties) have only one ballot drop box. Two counties out of the 30 do not have a single drop box.

Ballot drop boxes have been used in the United States for decades. As you have recognized, they offer a very efficient means by which voters can have visual confirmation that their ballots have been cast, but they avoid the crowds, wait times, and proximity between people that can characterize in-person voting at polling stations, and which is not advisable due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unfortunately, there are many counties in Georgia in which people have to travel extremely long distances in order to cast their ballots safely. This argues for an increase in the number of ballot drop boxes in many counties in the state. As illustrated in Figure 5, below, of the 30 geographically largest counties in the state, about three-quarters, or 22, had only one drop box. An extreme example is Burke County, with one drop box per 827 square miles. One large county, Meriwether, does not have a single drop box. In Georgia, according to 2017 data, 7 percent of all households and 12 percent of Black households did not have access to a vehicle, making these distances especially problematic for absentee voters, given the lack of public transport, especially in rural areas.

Regardless of where they live in Georgia, whether they are rural or urban, Black or white, and regardless of political party, all voters deserve equal access to safe and secure voting. We urge you to work with county officials throughout the state to install more ballot drop boxes and ensure that they are accessible at all times so voters with varying schedules can cast their ballots when they are able to do so.

Please do not hesitate to contact Alison Parker, managing director of the US Program at Human Rights Watch at or (917) 535-9796 should you have any questions regarding this letter. The data tables and full data set can be accessed by following this link: .

Sincerely yours,


Alison Leal Parker

Managing Director,U.S. Program

Human Rights Watch




Aklima Khondoker

Georgia State Director

All Voting is Local

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights



Pichaya Poy Winichakul, Staff Attorney

Voting Rights Practice Group

SPLC Action Fund

PO Box 1287

Decatur, GA 30031-1287



Alicia Stallworth

Georgia State Director

Planned Parenthood Southeast

Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates


Jerry Gonzalez

Chief Executive Officer

GALEO & GALEO Latino CommunityDevelopment Fund

Board Member of the GALEO Impact Fund, Inc.


Susannah E. Scott, President

League of Women Voters of Georgia



cc: All Georgia County Election Supervisors, via email

Enclosed: Data Figures



Data Figures: Inequities in Eligible Voters’ Access to Ballot Drop Boxes in Georgia 

Figure 1 – Distribution of Georgia Ballot Drop Boxes

Number of Ballot Drop Boxes in County  Number of Georgia Counties in Category  Eligible Voters Living in Counties  Percentage of Eligible Voters Living in Counties 
0 15 149,921 2%
1 107 2,494,837 33%
2-5 28 1,781,461 24%
6-10 4 574,930 8%
>10 5 2,536,813 34%


Figure 2 – Map of Georgia Ballot Drop Box Distribution by County

Figure 3.

Figure 4.


Figure 5.

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PRESS RELEASE: Voting Advocates Urge Hall County, Georgia to Maintain Early Voting for January Runoff

For Immediate Release
December 17, 2020
Ella Wiley:
Elianne Ramos:
Travis Abercrombie:

Voting Advocates Urge Hall County, Georgia to Maintain Early Voting for January Runoff

Yesterday, Latino Justice (PRLDEF), the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), Latino Community Fund (LCF Georgia), GALEO, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR), Hispanic Federation, MiJente Support Committee, All Voting is Local, Georgia, and ACLU of Georgia sent a letter to the Hall County Board of Commissioners, Hall County Board of Elections and Registration, and the Hall County Director of Elections expressing concern about early voting access for the January 5, 2021 runoff election.

The letter follows a decision from Hall County election officials to eliminate half of the county’s early voting locations, transitioning from eight locations used for the 2020 general election to only four locations for the 2021 runoff. The polling closures disproportionately burden voters of color as many of these locations are in Black and Latino communities. The closures also increase voters’ risk to COVID-19, which has disproportionately affected Black and Latino communities, resulting in crowds at polling sites, long lines, and forcing voters to choose between their health and their right to vote.
Hall County is one of several counties in Georgia to announce polling site closures. For example, Cobb County also announced major cuts to early voting locations, resulting in pressure and criticism from the public and voting rights advocates.

“Failing to reopen the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center Activity Hall and Murrayville Library early voting sites is a direct blow to the Latino vote in Hall County,” said Miranda Galindo, Senior Counsel at PRLDEF. “The communities in Oakwood and along the SR 60 corridor south of Gainesville have no safe public transportation options and the closure of this site is especially harmful to voters living below the poverty level who are less likely to have access to a vehicle.”

“Hall County’s decision to eliminate half of its early voting sites is deeply concerning and will be especially harmful to voters of color,” said Michael Pernick, Georgia State Lead for LDF’s Prepared to Vote and Voting Rights Defender Projects. “It is imperative that Hall County’s election officials fulfill their responsibility to ensure that all eligible voters can exercise their constitutional right to vote and restore the closed sites for the remainder of the early voting period.”

“During a pandemic, voters need more options to vote rather than less options,” said Jerry Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer at GALEO. “Hall County elections officials should ensure that minority voters have equal access to exercising their right to vote.”

“The Georgia Senate runoff elections highlight the importance of every election and the power of every vote,” said Frankie Miranda, President and CEO of Hispanic Federation. “With our nation still grappling with its history of disenfranchisement of voters of color, those charged with ensuring our elections are free and fair should do all they can to enable full voter participation. By closing half of the early voting locations used only weeks ago—particularly in communities with high numbers of Black and Brown voters—Hall County officials risk sowing confusion and doubt in the electoral process at a time when the entire nation is counting on the efficacy of our democratic system. We strongly encourage Hall County to do the right thing and reverse this decision.”

“Now more than ever, voters need safe, available, and equitable access to the ballot—closing voting sites in Black and Latinx communities is not the answer,” said Aklima Khondoker, Georgia State Director of All Voting is Local. “Access to the ballot should never be determined by the whim of county representatives but must be guided by the needs of voters. Hall County voters should not be forced to choose between their health and their fundamental right to vote and at this critical time voters deserve more opportunities to cast a ballot, not less.”

“The early voting closures in Hall County present real issues for Black and Latinx voters,” said Andrea Young, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. “Substantial travel times, crowded polling locations, and long lines not only create undue burdens on these voters, but also fosters an environment ripe for the spread of COVID-19. Hall County must act quickly to restore the closed locations and ensure voters can cast a ballot safely and with ease.”

Read the letter to Hall County election officials here. *Using the terms “Latino” and “Latinx” interchangeably is done in an effort to reflect diversity and inclusion values.


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