Stephen Fowler

Stephen Fowler is the Producer/Back-Up Host for All Things Considered and a creative storyteller hailing from McDonough, Georgia. He graduated from Emory University with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. The program combined the best parts of journalism, marketing, digital media and music into a thesis on the rise of the internet rapper via the intersectionality of social media and hip-hop. He served as the first-ever Executive Digital Editor of The Emory Wheel, where he helped lead the paper into a modern digital era.

As a storyteller, his photos, videos, voice and words have won numerous awards and have been featured everywhere from the Coca-Cola Company boardroom to the TEDx stage. He has interviewed an eclectic group of subjects over the years, ranging from Paul Simon to the Dalai Lama, and is always looking for another story to tell. 

In his free time, you can ask him to expound on brunch, Atlanta hip-hop and potpourri trivia.

A version of this story was originally published by Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Republicans in the Georgia legislature have released legislation that proposes tougher restrictions on both absentee and in-person early voting, among other sweeping changes to election laws after an election in which Democrats won the presidential race in the state and flipped two U.S. Senate seats.

Updated at 12:31 p.m. ET

The Fulton County District Attorney's office has launched a criminal probe into former President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn Georgia's election results, including a call pressuring Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" enough votes for him. The county includes Atlanta, Georgia's capital.

After an election that saw record voter turnout, with many of those voters casting their ballots early and by mail, some Republican state lawmakers are proposing a wave of new voting laws that would effectively make it more difficult to vote in future elections.

The proposals come in the aftermath of the unprecedented onslaught of disinformation about the conduct of the 2020 election by former President Donald Trump and some of his allies in the Republican Party.

Updated 9:43 p.m. ET

The Georgia secretary of state's office is investigating allegations that Lin Wood, a high-profile pro-Trump attorney who launched fruitless challenges to election results and pushed baseless conspiracies of fraud, may have voted illegally in the November general election. Wood played a crucial role in former President Donald Trump's efforts to undermine the election.

It's been more than a week since the Georgia Senate runoff elections delivered control of Congress to Democrats.

But inside the Bartow County, Ga., Senior Center on Tuesday, a dozen teams worked in pairs to do a hand recount of more than 43,000 votes cast in the Jan. 5 runoffs.

The final margin for the races are outside the threshold for a recount, and the voters in this county an hour northwest of Atlanta are about 75% Republican — so the result isn't close, or expected to change.

Copyright 2021 Georgia Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Georgia Public Broadcasting.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

An angry President Trump pushed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, to overturn the state's presidential election result and appeared to at least partly blame Raffensperger for what could be lower turnout in Tuesday's runoff elections, which will decide control of the U.S. Senate, according to a recording of a phone call obtained by Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2021 Georgia Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Georgia Public Broadcasting.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Updated at 10:55 p.m. ET

A top election official in Georgia had strong words for President Trump and other top Republican leaders who have attacked Georgia's election system in recent weeks after reports of harassment and death threats against officials overseeing the state's recount.

"Someone's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone's going to get killed," Gabriel Sterling, with the secretary of state's office, said Tuesday afternoon in an emotional and forceful news conference. "It's not right."

Georgia's nearly 5 million votes in the presidential race will be counted for a third time, as President Trump's campaign has formally asked for a recount because his loss is within the legal margin for that request.

Updated at 5:23 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden was officially certified the winner of Georgia's 16 electoral votes Friday after a statewide recount ended this week.

Hours before the deadline, a weary secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, delivered a short but emphatic speech that "numbers don't lie" about Biden's victory.

Georgia election officials expect to release the results of a statewide audit by noon Thursday, as a handful of counties finish data entry from a full hand recount of 5 million presidential votes.

Gabriel Sterling with the secretary of state's office said Wednesday afternoon that at least 21 of 159 counties show their risk-limiting audit is still in process, including some of the large jurisdictions in metro Atlanta. The deadline for the audit is 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.

Updated at 1:09 p.m. ET

Amid baseless accusations of election fraud from Republicans, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced the state will conduct a hand recount of the presidential race, where President-elect Joe Biden currently holds a 14,000-vote lead.

"This will help build confidence," said Raffensperger, surrounded by a bipartisan group of local election officials. "It will be a heavy lift. We will work with the counties to get this done in time for our state certification."

Updated at 4:36 p.m. ET

Georgia's two Republican U.S. senators are calling on the state's top election official — also a Republican — to resign Monday after alleging "too many failures in Georgia elections this year" but without mentioning specifics to support their claims.

Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler issued a joint statement that blasted Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for allowing the management of Georgia elections to "become an embarrassment for our state."

Copyright 2020 Georgia Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Georgia Public Broadcasting.

TONYA MOSLEY, HOST:

Updated at 5:29 p.m. ET

Georgia's top election official sounded the alarm Tuesday because he said 1,000 people voted twice in the state's elections so far this year — although when pressed, he acknowledged he didn't know whether any of them did so intentionally.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, made the announcement in a news conference on Tuesday. He said the thousand voters turned in absentee ballots and then voted in person in the state's June primary, but he provided few details apart from that.

While a record 1.1 million Georgians voted by mail in this year’s June 9 primary, thousands more ballots were not counted because they came in after the Election Day deadline.

According to the state’s absentee voting records, more than 11,000 mail-in ballots were rejected this cycle, and 8,479 were received after polls closed, with the late ballots about 0.74% of the total absentee ballots returned.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says she has tested postive for COVID-19, although she is asymptomatic. 

In a tweet Monday, the mayor said "COVID-19 has literally hit home."

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is activating up to 1,000 National Guard troops after a spate of shootings and protests in Atlanta over the weekend. Five people died, including an 8-year-old girl, and at least 30 people were injured. The Republican governor issued an executive order Monday that would send the National Guard to protect the state Capitol, the Governor's Mansion and the Department of Public Safety's headquarters, where close to 100 demonstrators set fire to part of the building early Sunday morning.

The Atlanta Hawks have committed their arena as an early voting site for Georgia's upcoming elections. The basketball team has also challenged other NBA franchises to become civically involved ahead of the November election.

In a press conference Monday, leadership from the Hawks and Fulton County, where the team is based, announced that hundreds of State Farm Arena staff will be trained as volunteer poll workers, parking around the area will be free for voters, and several team-controlled billboards will push "get out the vote" messages beginning in July.

The Georgia legislature sent a hate crimes bill to Gov. Brian Kemp’s desk Tuesday, spurred on by the recent killing of a Black man in Glynn County that received nationwide attention and revived a bill stalled in the Senate for more than a year. 

House Bill 426 adds extra penalties for those found guilty of committing certain crimes against someone because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or disability. 

The final version also requires the creation of a database to track hate crimes across the state.

Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger unveiled a plan Wednesday to help Georgia elections officials better prepare for the general election and minimize the likelihood of long lines and problems at the polls.

Speaking in front of Park Tavern, where nearly 16,000 active voters were assigned to cast their ballots and wait times lasted more than three hours, Raffensperger also took aim at the voting issues Fulton County residents faced.

Hundreds of protesters descended on the Georgia state capitol Monday to demand an end to systemic criminal justice failures including police brutality, voter suppression and to abolish the state's citizen arrest law.

The demonstration came as state lawmakers returned to work after the current session was halted for three months amid concern about the spread of the coronavirus.

Copyright 2020 Georgia Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Georgia Public Broadcasting.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Updated at 10:03 p.m. ET

Voters across Georgia experienced long lines at the polls and widespread issues with a new $104 million voting system in the state's Tuesday primary.

In the city of Atlanta, voters waited upwards of three hours at some polling places as social distancing measures decreased the number of voting machines and people inside a polling place at one time.

It’s finally Election Day in Georgia, where voters will make their choices in the presidential and general primaries. 

More than 1.3 million voters have cast their ballot already through a record-setting mail-in absentee effort and three weeks of early voting. 

Gov. Brian Kemp has signed an executive order that allows bars and nightclubs to reopen June 1 and extends many coronavirus precautions for Georgians until July 12 as the state continues with “measured steps forward" against the virus.

First and foremost, the public health emergency is extended another 30 days.

Georgia's COVID-19 data dashboard is an important tool to understand how the virus has spread, but several high-profile errors and choices about how information is presented has raised questions over its usefulness.

 


While about 61,000 voters cast their ballots on the state's new $104 million voting system so far this week, at least two county elections offices were stricken by the virus and another had to add more hours and machines to mitigate long lines.

Only a fraction of the state's than 570,000 votes cast in the June 9 primary so far have been in person, but the new reality of elections in the time of coronavirus means that even a relatively small number of voters at the polls comes with the potential for problems.


Facing an avalanche of interest in absentee voting because of the coronavirus, county election administrators can begin processing – but not tabulating – mail-in ballots earlier under a new rule passed by the State Election Board Monday.

The emergency measure enables elections staff to get a head start on absentee ballots for the June 9 election only, allowing them to start handling the ballots June 1.

As of Monday morning, more than 1.4 million Georgians have requested an absentee ballot for the June 9 primary and over 360,000 ballots have been completed and returned.

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