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.

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.

When Georgians head to the polls Monday for the first statewide election on Georgia’s new $104 million touchscreen voting system in the postponed presidential and general primary, things will look different.

The coronavirus has sent local officials scrambling to procure protective equipment for staff and considering decreasing the number of machines available to comply with health and safety recommendations.

Thirty counties have relocated or cut back on voting locations since the presidential primary was first postponed in March.


Gov. Brian Kemp is encouraging all Georgians to undergo screening for the coronavirus as the testing supply continues to rise and the federal government plans to send enough swabs to test 2% of the state’s population.

Speaking at the Capitol Thursday, Kemp said the change in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention means those without symptoms can contact their doctor, local health department or use a free app from Augusta University to start the process.

Georgia's tax collections for the month of April were down more than $1 billion from last year, signaling a budgetary shortfall that could force state agencies to slash already lean budgets by more than 10% for the next fiscal year.

Georgia elections officials face a daunting question as they prepare for early voting in the June 9 primary in the midst of a global pandemic: What do they do if a voter appears ill?

“I’ve asked for guidance from the state as to what we’re supposed to do if a manager notices anyone in line with symptoms,” Fulton County Elections Director Richard Barron said at a recent elections board meeting. “I still haven’t heard back.”

GPB News and the Georgia News Lab asked dozens of county supervisors how they would handle such a situation. None reported receiving any guidance from the state elections officials as of publication, leaving local officials to determine how to balance health and safety concerns due to COVID-19 against the fundamental right to vote.


President Trump said he told Gov. Brian Kemp it was too soon for the state to reopen some businesses later this week that have been closed because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Speaking at a Wednesday evening briefing, the president said he disagreed "strongly," but said it was ultimately up to Kemp. 

More than half a million absentee ballot applications have been processed for Georgia’s June 9 primary so far, overwhelming local officials who already face a shortage of poll workers and polling places.

Gov. Brian Kemp said in a Monday press conference Georgia will expand COVID-19 testing sites and revise the criteria for who can get tested as the state enters its second full week under a stay-at-home order.

The governor called Georgia's lag in testing numbers unacceptable.

"Despite our partnerships and undeniable progress, our testing numbers in Georgia continue to lag," he said. "We need to be firing on all cylinders to prepare for the days and weeks ahead."

As of noon Monday, only 58,000 or so COVID-19 tests had been processed in a state of about 10 million people.

Four Georgians who were stranded on the Coral Princess cruise ship off the coast of Florida are self-quarantining at home now after Sen. Kelly Loeffler sent her private jet to return them to Atlanta.

Gov. Brian Kemp announced on Thursday Georgia has its first confirmed death from COVID-19. 

Kemp said the 67-year-old man was hospitalized at WellStar Kennestone Hospital after testing positive for COVID-19 March 7, and had underlying medical conditions.

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