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.

When hundreds of local elections officials gathered in a sunny island conference room in Georgia last week, there was a pause for prayer and reflection on a year like no other.

"It's really, really great to see all of you here and all the new faces that we have met," Macon-Bibb County elections supervisor Jeanetta Watson said before letting out a long, deep sigh. "We have really gone through a trial and tribulation."

Across the country, the once-a-decade mapmaking process known as redistricting is about to get underway.

In Georgia, when state lawmakers held their first virtual town hall seeking public feedback on the process, several commenters stood out amid the sea of Zoom squares. High school and college students — who were in elementary and middle school the last time voting district lines were drawn — took turns explaining how the mapmaking process will affect future generations and emphasizing that their voices should be heard.

If you don't follow politics in Georgia closely — or even if you do — you might be forgiven for not knowing much about The Georgia Star News.

Founded just after the November election when President Biden narrowly flipped the state by about 12,000 votes, it looks like a regular news website with a lifestyle section, a widget for the weather and stories about local and national goings-on.

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Updated March 25, 2021 at 8:07 PM ET

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday signed a massive overhaul of election laws, shortly after the Republican-controlled state legislature approved it. The bill enacts new limitations on mail-in voting, expands most voters' access to in-person early voting and caps a months-long battle over voting in a battleground state.

"With Senate bill 202, Georgia will take another step toward ensuring our elections are secure, accessible and fair," Kemp told reporters Thursday evening.

In a newly revealed phone call, President Donald Trump asked a Georgia law enforcement official to find evidence of fraud with absentee-by-mail ballots, the latest revelation in his unsuccessful attempt to overturn the state's election results.

"Whatever you can do, Frances, it would be — it's a great thing," Trump said to Georgia Secretary of State chief investigator Frances Watson in December. "When the right answer comes out, you'll be praised."

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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