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Dear Decaturish – In support of Harmel Codi for House District 84

campaign coverage Metro ATL

Dear Decaturish – In support of Harmel Codi for House District 84

Image obtained via harmelcodi.com
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Decaturish needs your help covering the 2020 elections. If you value independent local news that isn’t behind a paywall, consider becoming a monthly supporter of Decaturish. For as little as $3 a month, you can help us provide you with quality and comprehensive election coverage. For more information about becoming a paid supporter, click here

All of our election coverage can be found at Decaturishvotes.com

About this series: As part of our ongoing election coverage, we invite candidates running for local offices to submit letters of support. Letters can be sent to editor@decaturish.com. We will run no more than three letters in support of any candidate. All letters must be submitted by May 15. All letters in support of a particular candidate will be published in the same article. All letters represent the opinions of the author and not Decaturish.com.

Here is a letter in support of Harmel Codi, who is running for House District 84. 

Dear Decaturish,

I am supporting Harmel Codi for House District 84 because she will represent the wishes of her constituents on both state and local issues. Harmel is challenging a two-term incumbent who is completely out of touch with her district on local matters like the ethics legislation. Harmel will have positions consistent with Democrats in the district but would, in contrast, be a strong force for ethics, transparency, and accountability at the local level.

Harmel is a long time DeKalb resident who understands the County’s history, culture, and politics. She has a long record of service to others in the district. I had the pleasure of meeting Harmel about ten years ago when we both frequently attended DeKalb Board of Commissioners meetings. At the time, I was actively involved in advocating for a new DeKalb animal shelter.

Harmel was relentlessly fighting for government transparency and accountability, and it was hard not to notice her thoughtful, passionate assertions about the need for an honest government that works for its people.

Currently, Harmel serves as the chair of the DeKalb County Audit Oversight Committee, an independent citizen-led group born out of public outcry for a stronger review of government operations and funds. I’ve especially admired Harmel’s ability in this role to actively listen to public concerns and her intense focus on accounting and pertinent data.

Most people are unaware that DeKalb County’s governance is unique among Georgia counties in that state senators and state representatives play an active role in local decisions. For example, DeKalb county’s ethics code is codified in state law rather than only in a local ordinance as is the case with other counties and cities in Georgia.

Ethics in DeKalb County government has been a longstanding problem. This is why 92% of DeKalb voters supported a 2015 referendum to strengthen the ethics code, resulting in an independent ethics board and an ethics officer who reports to the board.

Fast-forward to 2019 and the ethics code was again on the ballot as a referendum designed by the majority of the DeKalb delegation to the Georgia General Assembly, this time, to weaken the current ethics board and remove the independent ethics officer. The incumbent for District 84 along with Rep. Vernon Jones lobbied hard for passage of the referendum to weaken the ethics law, going against her district’s wishes with 73% of District 84 voting against the 2019 referendum.

The future of DeKalb’s ethics code is in the hands of our state legislators and thus, it is important for voters to know where each candidate stands on this issue. In contrast to the incumbent, Harmel has steadfastly supported ethics in DeKalb and advocated against the 2019 referendum that would have weakened ethics oversight in the County.

DeKalb government has improved over the years because of Harmel and other community members who genuinely care about issues that impact the County and its people. Harmel has a record for advancing policies and programs backed by strong ethics and data-driven decisions. Further, unlike the incumbent, she does not engage in divisive behavior which often plays a role in DeKalb politics. For voters in District 84 who care about an ethically run county, the choice to vote for Harmel Codi should be clear.

Sincerely,

Sonali Saindane

Winnona Park Resident House District 84

More information about voting in this election:

The voter registration deadline for the June 9 election is May 11.

You can look up your status by visiting the Georgia Secretary of State’s “My Voter Page.” To visit the My Voter Page, click here. You can check your status by providing basic information like your last name, birthday and the county you live in. You can also see a sample ballot.

If you find you are not registered and want to be registered in time for the next election, there are a few ways you can get back on the voter rolls.

You can register online with the Secretary of State’s Office by clicking here.

According to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, in order to register to vote you must:

– Be a citizen of the United States

– Be a legal resident of the county where you are voting

– Be at least 17 1/2 years of age to register and 18 years of age to vote

– Not be serving a sentence for conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude

– Have not been found mentally incompetent by a judge

For more information about how to register, click here.

People are being encouraged to vote by mail in the upcoming election. Most people should’ve already received an application for an absentee ballot form in the mail. Absentee ballots can be requested online through the Secretary of State’s Office or the County Board of Registrations and Elections. The county board of registrar’s office is located at 4380 Memorial Drive Suite, 300, Decatur, GA 30032. Once the ballot has been requested, election officials will mail each voter the appropriate ballot.

People voting by mail will be identified using signature verification. If a signature doesn’t match, those voters will be mailed a provisional ballot and asked to return that along with a photocopy of their identification. Three people have to agree that a signature does not match before a provisional ballot is sent to a voter.

Here is the most recent election update from DeKalb County:

Update on General Primary Election and Absentee Ballots

DECATUR, Ga.– On Thursday, April 9, 2020, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger postponed the May 19, 2020, presidential preference primary, special election, general primary and general nonpartisan election to June 9, 2020.

All votes previously cast in the 2020 presidential preference primary/special election originally scheduled for March 24, 2020, will be counted on June 9, 2020.

Voters who have previously cast ballots in the presidential preference primary / special election originally scheduled for March 24, 2020, will receive a ballot that contains the races for the June 9, 2020, general primary and general nonpartisan election only.

Voters who have not yet cast a ballot in the 2020 presidential preference primary/special election will receive a ballot that contains both the presidential preference primary/special election races and the General Primary and general nonpartisan election races.

On Monday, March 30, 2020, the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office mailed absentee ballot applications to all registered active voters in the state.

Applications requesting a ballot for May 19, 2020, will be processed as requesting a ballot for the June 9, 2020, election.

Completed applications must be received by the DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections Office no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, June 5, 2020, and absentee ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on June 9, 2020.  Uniformed and Overseas Citizens (UOCAVA) ballots must be postmarked by June 9, 2020, and received no later than Friday, June 12, 2020.

For more information, contact the DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections Office at 404-298-4020.

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