ATLANTA — A new statistical analysis of the petition submitted by organizations trying to stop the construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center shows that coalition may not have enough signatures to trigger a referendum.
An exhausting study was done by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Associated Press, Georgia Public Broadcasting and WABE.
It found discrepancies in what the “Stop Cop City” coalition said about the petition, but also showed they’re close to having the signatures they need — maybe.
At the time, they claimed they had 116,000 signatures, which is well above the number needed to trigger an automatic referendum on the proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Center.
Channel 2 Action News was outside Atlanta City Hall in September when the “Vote to Stop Cop City” coalition delivered 16 boxes of signatures to city officials.
Riley Bunch is one of the reporters who completed a statistical analysis of those petitions.
“It took months of going through all these signatures, picking out their names, trying to compare them to the voter rolls,” Bunch told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot.
Bunch said the media organization did a hand count and found the actual number was just over 108,000 and from that, they did a statistical sampling of 1,000 of those.
What they found is that just under half, 48%, were valid signatures from city of Atlanta residents. About 47%, they found, were invalid. Another 5% were undetermined.
Bunch says that 48% valid number is within the sampling’s 3% margin of error — meaning, site opponents are very close to having the number they need depending on how Atlanta is able to count them.
“There’s legal questions surrounding the residency requirement that we’re seeing in court, and then also Mayor Dickens’ lawyers argue the referendum isn’t valid anyway,” Bunch said.
The city argues that a referendum can’t legally invalidate a lease agreement that’s already been signed.
There was no comment Wednesday from the city on the findings.
The “Vote to Stop Cop City” coalition called the analysis inherently flawed and again called on the city to drop legal challenges and put it to a vote.
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