Black church leaders launch large Georgia voting rights group

Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer/Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Faith Works will push for voting access in response to new laws

Church leaders representing over 1,000 Black congregations in Georgia created a voting rights organization Wednesday called Faith Works, which will focus on voter turnout and education in response to the state’s voting laws.

Faith Works will emphasize get-out-the-vote efforts ahead of this November’s election, potentially reaching hundreds of thousands of parishioners.

“We are rising together because our democracy has come under attack from within — and like generations before us, this moment in history and our faith are calling for us to act,” said Bishop Reginald Jackson, who leads more than 500 African Methodist Episcopal churches in Georgia.

Jackson said Faith Works will fight barriers to voting, including parts of Georgia’s voting law passed last year, Senate Bill 202. The law limited absentee ballot drop boxes, required additional ID for absentee voting, allowed state takeovers of county election boards and banned handing out food and water to voters waiting in line.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church’s 6th District is one of several organizations that have filed lawsuits asking the courts to block parts of the voting law.

While voter turnout was high in Georgia’s primary in May, Jackson has said he’s worried that the voting law could discourage voters and reduce absentee voting in the general election, which features races for governor and the U.S. Senate.

Faith Works plans to mobilize churchgoers for “Souls to the Polls” voting efforts on Sunday early voting days, advertise through social media and speak out about voting access.