The Carter Center has a long history of pro-democracy work overseas. But two years ago he turned to the United States.
In 2020, the Center’s Democracy Program supported American elections by providing objective information on the electoral process, promoting good practices in transparency and partnering with grassroots organizations to disseminate messages around a peaceful electoral transition.
Now he throws the Georgia Democracy Resilience Networka program to get people in Jimmy Carter’s home state to avoid conflict and gain confidence in elections.
The program’s co-lead, veteran Republican strategist Leo Smith, says it’s less about election monitoring and more about events and discussions with a wide range of Georgians.
“We’re not talking about election machinations,” Smith said. “But we are talking about the normative expectations of rhetoric and physical behaviors when we engage in civic and political action.”
In other words, the network will focus on voter behavior before, during and after voting in the November 2022 election.
The program kicked off on Wednesday with a webinar that brought together Georgian religious leaders.
Future events will bring together civic and business leaders and others to serve as advocates for peaceful political engagement around the election, Smith said.
The program’s other co-lead, Rashad Richey, is a Democratic strategist, broadcaster and national political analyst.
He said the network will ask candidates and citizens to uphold basic civic standards.
“Bridging divisions and working together is the most American thing ever,” Richey said. “This country has supported elections for two centuries, and the network is part of that tradition.”
The Carter Center has similar programs in other battleground states ahead of the controversial midterm elections — with the memory of Jan. 6, 2021, not far behind.