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Atlanta mayor hopes momentum of protests will carry over to voter turnout

'I think people are motivated and I certainly think that's going to carry over past tomorrow.'

ATLANTA — In an interview Monday with 11Alive, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the country is seeing a new generation of activists emerge.

Bottoms said when she sees the peaceful protests, she is reminded of the Civil Rights marches of the 60s. She hopes the momentum will carry over to voter turnout and that the state will work out issues related to the pandemic, like the long early voting lines.

"We're going to see a lot of people turning out to vote and it's going to be unacceptable for people to have to stand in the line for six to eight hours, like we saw at some Fulton County precincts," she said. "So, hopefully, the lessons from this election, we can tweak."

"I think people are motivated and I certainly think that's going to carry over past tomorrow," she said.

She also mentioned that she wants people to stay as COVID-19 concerns continue. She's urging others to get tested. 

"I am going to take another COVID test and I encourage anyone who's been out in public, especially in large gatherings, to do the same," she said. 

The mayor spoke to a crowd of protesters in Downtown Atlanta on Thursday.

RELATED: 'Go home' mayor pleads, 'This is not Atlanta'

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In terms of protests, the mayor said the next big question is where do we go from here. Bottoms said police reform is part of the solution. She has created a commission to look at use of force. She also gave her thoughts on the idea of defunding police departments.

"A very simplified message is defund the police, but I think the overarching thing is that people want to see a reallocation of resources into community development and alternatives to just criminalizing responses to behavior," she said. 

Bottoms pointed out how the city has cut its corrections budget by 60 percent and is allocating that funding to convert the Atlanta Detention Center into a health and wellness center.

11Alive also asked Bottoms about her name reportedly on a shortlist for vice president candidates for Joe Biden. She said she's honored to have her name spoke in that light.

"I appreciate that my name is spoken in that regard and it remains to be seen what happens," she said. Listen to her response below. 

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