As the people of Atlanta prepare for the mayoral runoff on Dec. 5, a controversial private recording has put one candidate in a precarious position.
The news website reportedly obtained an audio recording of a private meeting held by the Buckhead Young Republicans in June. During the meeting, Norwood spoke about the Atlanta mayoral election of 2009 — an election to Kasim Reed, who is Black.
While addressing the group of young Republicans, the city council member allegedly said Reed won because he would gather illegal votes from people who once lived in the projects or abandoned homes.
“It’s a lot harder to drive a van with six felons, you know guys who are going to commit felonies by voting illegally, if somebody’s watching,” she allegedly told the Republicans.
“So what happened was, they knocked on the door Saturday night, and said, ‘Jimmy Johnson, you are out here in Mableton, and we are glad for you. And you’re getting money from the government. But you’re still registered on Henry Thomas Drive. And we just need you to come back in on Tuesday and vote on Henry Thomas Drive,” Norwood allegedly added.
In short, Norwood suggested Reed found Black people who once lived in the “inner city” and would bus them to polling stations in those areas.
Although she made voter fraud claims while with the Buckhead Young Republicans, Norwood has not produced any documents or proof that voter fraud took place.
During a final debate before the election, Norwood’s opponent, Keisha Lance Bottoms, called out the offensive language.
“Recently a secret tap was released when you essentially said the same thing about the 2009 election. You used racially coded language such as ‘thugs,’ ‘felons’ and ‘public housing’ when referring to African-Americans who were exercising their right to vote. Can you provide evidence of voter fraud. And if not, will you apologize for using racially coded language,” Bottoms asked.
In response to Bottoms’ question, Norwood said: “The language that I used in a tape that has been spliced and doctored to misrepresent was language that I was concerned about voters who were approached by ill-intentioned individuals who were encouraged to vote from an address that existed previously. Yes, I do have those names and I can produce them.”