2020 Primary and Local Election Guide

Welcome to the A4E guide to the 2020 primary and local election!

This election has been postponed twice, but voting via mail is going on right now.  You can check your sample ballot on the Secretary of State’s website if you haven’t yet received it in the mail.

We recommend a Democratic Primary Ballot.

Here is a PDF version of this voter guide which you can download, print, and share.

ACC Commission

District 2

Mariah Parker (Endorsed!)

Athens for Everyone is so proud to endorse Mariah Parker as Commissioner of District 2 for the second time. We like her so much we’ve endorsed her twice! Commissioner Parker has been an incredible advocate for human rights and dignity. She has boldly stood in opposition of policies that would harm vulnerable communities and has been a constant champion for bettering black lives here in Athens.

From her first day in office, Commissioner Parker has proven that her commitment to justice is not just a vague ideal tacked on to garner votes. It is the very bones of her time in office and her campaign. The word ‘equality’ is all too often overused and underserved by politicians. Commissioner Parker is not one of those politicians.
Each bone in the spine of her campaign is an issue deeply affected by the inequity built into our system. From transportation to economic equality to criminal justice reform, Commissioner

Mariah Parker has made good on her promise to fight for the rights of all Athenians, not only those who are already being served by the status quo. She has been a constant champion for bettering black lives in our Classic City.

For the past four years we have restrained cheers in the quiet of commissioner meetings as Mariah Parker fought tirelessly for District 2 and all of Athens. We here at A4E can only imagine what good she will do in another four. We strongly support Mariah Parker’s bid for re-election to her position as District 2 Commissioner for Athens-Clarke County.

District 4

Michael Stapor (Endorsed!)

Now is the time to move beyond the status quo and introduce new voices who will be allies to progressive members of the commission. Michael Stapor is committed to issues of poverty, affordable housing and racial justice in Athens. He supports the Linnentown Project, fare-free public transportation and ending Athens’ prison labor system. In debates and through his platform, Stapor has shown he is ready to listen to members of the Athens community and work to push progressive policies forward. This approach stands in contrast to the approach of his opponent, Allison Wright, who despite her years of service has made few significant stands for progress toward racial and economic justice. We cannot afford to wait for things to change on their own.

District 6

Jesse Houle, challenger (Endorsed!)

Two years ago, Athens elected a new slate of progressive commissioners, in an amazing and surprising victory. It was inspiring, but it wasn’t enough. The past year and a half since those folks took office has been dramatically better than the eight years prior, but the commission still needs more solid voices and votes in favor of real change. Jesse Houle will be one of those voices. Their platform and public statements have been thoughtful and passionate at the same time, prioritizing racial and economic justice for all of Athens while recognizing the needs of District 6, such as improving EMS response times and public transportation to the edges of the county. They have a demonstrated commitment to doing the work of attending meetings, listening to many voices, digging through legalese and then communicating the results to people who need to know them. They care deeply about transparency, as with their foregrounding of Athens’ benefiting from unpaid prison labor. Their work with communities in need through Nuci’s Space shows their ability to handle the kind of checklist of details needed to get things done.

Houle spends the time to think through complex problems like housing justice and the ongoing fight against state legislation, which often hems in our efforts to transform Athens. They have a deep desire to build consensus without taking the easy way out and giving up on issues that seem too divisive. To make real change, we need to approach the barriers that stand in our way from new angles, and their creative thinking will be an asset in doing so. Their commitment to people-based organizing that focuses on sharing power and allowing for collective decision making rather than handing down favors is one of their greatest strengths. The “great man” theory of leadership fails us more easily than faith in real democracy, and the latter is the only we can really build an Athens that works for all of us. Vote Jesse to make that Athens a reality.

District 8

Andrea Farnham (Endorsed!)

Andrea Farnham is committed to improving the lives of working poor and Black Athenians. She makes this point clear every time she speaks, every time she answers a question, every time she walks into a room. Farnham has a deep understanding of the systemic ways that institutions reproduce cycles of poverty and oppression. The fact that these principles and this knowledge guide her policies and approach makes her the most progressive and promising candidate for District 8. She has worked to push forward actions like Recognition and Redress, Linnentown and Care Not Cages. She was an early champion of a workers’ center to organize Athens’. She hosted a series of panels on which former inmates spoke about their personal and political experiences with the criminal justice system. Ideas and actions like these would bring new energy to a commission that often moves too slowly and carefully.

Farnham may not be the obvious choice among a group of three candidates — any of whom would be an improvement over current District 8 Commissioner Andy Herod — but she is the most likely to bring new progressive ideas to the commission and to hold other commissioners accountable to making critical progress on issues of poverty and racial justice. Carol Myers (also an A4E member) and Kamau Hull also have progressive platforms but are less likely to bring bold change.

District 10

Knowa D. Johnson (Endorsed!)

As a co-founder of Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement, Knowa Johnson has been a leader in changing public discourse in Athens. As a commissioner, he would bring this same strength, with a platform that focuses on participatory government, affordable housing, funding for the arts and promoting people of color in Athens’ cultural scene. Since moving to Athens eight years ago, he has helped organize some of the largest marches and demonstrations Athens has ever seen, and AADM serves the community through know-your-rights workshops, political advocacy, anti-discrimination training and the End the School to Prison Pipeline Program. In contrast, Mike Hamby has been on the commission for 12 years, but has done little to improve the lives of poor people and people of color in Athens. Johnson has done more from the outside than his opponent has from the inside; we can only imagine what he would bring to the commission in a position of political power.


Board of Education

District 2

Kirrena Gallagher (Endorsed!)

District 4

Patricia “Tish” Yager (no opposition)

District 6

Mumbi Anderson (no opposition)

District 8

Nicole Hull (no opposition)

Other Local Races, Nonpartisan

None of these races feature opposition. We are disappointed in that fact. We need people to step up and run to make real change in our criminal justice system.

Local Races with Primaries

These races will have primaries on June 9, 2020. If only one party has candidates, the winner of the primary will run unopposed in the November 3, 2020, election. We are not making recommendations for unopposed candidates.

District Attorney

No election. Stolen by Brian Kemp.


John Q. Williams (Recommended)

Our criminal justice system needs a complete overhaul. Although John Q. Williams is part of that system and not a prison abolitionist, he would be a step in the right direction. Williams has a humane approach to law enforcement, concerning himself with inmate well-being and staff morale. His platform includes criminal justice reform, internal improvements, transparency and outreach and rejects working with ICE (the only one of three candidates for this position to do so). He is a proponent of community policing and is highly qualified to make the changes he suggests. He cites his own experiences being profiled as a Black man as one of the reasons he wanted to be in law enforcement in the first place: to change it. He believes in being the change you wish to see. His opponent in the primary, incumbent sheriff Ira Edwards, has worked with ICE and taken numerous donations from bail bondsmen, a clear conflict of interest. It’s time for Edwards to go.

State Races, Nonpartisan

Only two of these races feature opposition. We are disappointed in that fact. We need people to step up and run to make real change in our criminal justice system.

Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia

Elizabeth “Beth” Beskin (Recommended)

We don’t agree with Beskin’s politics (she is a former Republican state legislator), but we appreciate her fight to have contested elections for judges, against Gov. Brian Kemp’s desire to move these positions to appointment-only. Her conservative politics seem more moderate than those of her opponent, Charlie Bethel.

Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia

Sarah Hawkins Warren (Recommended)

Warren is the incumbent in this seat. She is a staunch Republican, a member of the Federalist Society, and worked for George W Bush’s reelection campaign. On the other hand, her opponent, Hal Moroz, seems considerably worse, painting himself as a strict constitutionalist. We don’t like to recommend the lesser of two evils, but this seems to be one of those cases.


State Races, Primaries

These races have primaries on June 9, 2020, and a general election on November 3, 2020. We are only making an endorsement in one of them for the June 9 primary (even though the candidate for that seat is unopposed) and a recommendation in one other. Democratic candidates for districts 118, 119, 46 and 47 are also unopposed.

Public Service Commissioner

Daniel Blackman (Recommended)

State House District 117

Mokah Jasmine Johnson (D) (Endorsed!)

Mokah Jasmine Johnson has proven herself to be a champion for marginalized communities. In her run for State House, she focuses on these same principles, with a platform focused on civil rights, criminal justice reform, workers’ rights and healthcare. Johnson is a co-founder of the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement, a non-profit that serves the Athens community through know-your-rights workshops, political advocacy, anti-discrimination training for businesses and groups and the End the School to Prison Pipeline Program. Through AADM, Johnson has proven herself to be a true leader, one who does not stop when a roadblock appears but finds a way to get over, around or through it. As a State House representative, she would be a thoughtful but forceful presence, fighting for equity and justice at the state level.

Johnson would prove a dramatic change and infinite improvement over the incumbent, Houston Gaines. Since his election in 2018, Gaines has taken action against bail reform (HB 340), repeatedly voted against abortion rights (HB 481) and voted to protect Confederate monuments. With Johnson in office, we would not only see opposition to these repulsive policies, but have a leader who brings new ideas and a passion for equity to the state legislature.

Federal Races, Primaries

House of Representatives, Georgia 9th

This race will have a primary on June 9, 2020, and a general election on November 3, 2020.

Devin Pandy (Recommended)

House of Representatives, Georgia 10th

This race will have a primary on June 9, 2020, and a general election on November 3, 2020.

Andrew Ferguson (Recommended)



This race will have a primary on June 9, 2020, and a general election on November 3, 2020.

Sarah Riggs Amico (Recommended)


This race will have a primary on June 9, 2020, and a general election on November 3, 2020.

Bernie Sanders (Endorsed!)

Although Sanders has officially dropped out of the race, we believe a vote for him is still a vote for his platform.


Democratic Party Questions

These are nonbinding, but you should vote yes on all of them, as they let Democratic state party leadership hear our priorities and preferences.

Notes and Disclaimers

We recommended selecting the Democratic ballot, but the majority of our guide covers non-partisan races that are present on every party’s ballot. We did not cover the Republican primary at all. Not everyone can vote in every race on this guide. Any race in which a district number is listed is restricted to people living in a certain geographic area. All voters in Athens can vote for any race that does not have a district number listed. To find your districts, check this map: athensforeveryone.com/maps

“Endorsed” next to a candidate’s name means that person is fully supported. “Recommended” means that we are encouraging you to vote for a candidate but have some reservations.