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Two police officers showed up and told us we had to leave, saying we were on private property. We reminded them of our rights and that they should be helping us to protect democracy and care for the voters. Our team included several lawyers from Fair Fight Action and All Voting Is Local — but before we knew it, six police cars arrived, their lights flashing. The police officers barked orders through their car speakers to try to intimidate us.The trauma and stress nearly broke us.Police encounters like this can lead to injury and death for black people just trying to live their lives. One gesture, or one word, could have added “supporting voters while black” to a deadly list that already includes jogging while black, sleeping at home while black and shopping while black.Days later, and no more than 25 miles away, Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by the police after they found him sleeping in his car.We knew how to de-escalate the situation, and we were able to fulfill our commitment to seeing every person vote. The last person didn’t vote until 12:37 a.m. She didn’t even get to vote on Election Day, a symbol of the dream deferred that Langston Hughes told us about.Whether by gross negligence or intentional malfeasance, the secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, failed in his leadership. He has to resign.To address these failures and be better prepared for the November elections, there must be accountability. In 2018, Brian Kemp, then secretary of state, effectively stole our votes — and was rewarded with the governor’s mansion. A lack of consequences is partly why our democracy is broken, not only in Georgia but also across the nation.Protests against police violence have resulted in a few high-profile resignations and firings, including Atlanta’s chief of police. We need similar accountability for election officials. If Mr. Raffensperger does not resign, then he must be recalled by voters in August.



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