Two months after the Nov. 3 election, Georgia voters will set the stage for the path forward as the runoff races conclude between Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler and their Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, respectively.
On the ballot, voters have the opportunity to change the tide through legislation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, job opportunities, healthcare and social justice.
Poll sites across the state will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Anyone who is in line by 7 p.m. can stay in line to vote. Absentee ballots will also need to be dropped off by 7 p.m. to be counted.
With all eyes on Georgia as the weight of the Senate hangs in the balance, Black voters and Black organizers remain the central focus of the story. Historically disenfranchised and undermined with violence, threats, and even death, Black Georgians have turned out the vote again in record numbers across the state.
While Black people make up 13 percent of the population in the country, they make up 33 percent in the state of Georgia, according to the Census Bureau. According to the University of Florida’s U.S. Elections Project, three million people have already voted in the runoff races, accounting for nearly 40 percent of all the registered voters in the state
With the ongoing pandemic, voters have also used mail-in ballots in record numbers, activating an important tool that gives access to voters who would not normally venture out to the polls due to sickness, job security or safety. During the presidential election, early voting helped Biden tip the scale, he was able to secure nearly 400,000 more absentee ballots in the state than Trump.
Black women organizers on the ground like Nse Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project, LaTosha Brown of Black Voters Matter and Stacey Abrams, founder of Fair Fight, have worked along the way in a solid trifecta to engage and activate millions of Georgians, Black voters particularly, between all of their efforts. Most importantly, their work has helped to register voters who may have sat out. They were able to engage voters through phone banking, voter drives, rides to the polls and door-to-door activations.
A new report from NBC News showed that 113,000 voters who didn’t participate in the Nov. 3 election voted in the Georgia runoff. Of that total, 30 percent were aged between 18-29 and 40 percent were Black.
But persistent attempts to muddle the vote continue to be enacted by Donald Trump, his administration and his supporters.
Black Voters Matter recently sued the Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger over voter suppression methods and The New Georgia Project filed lawsuits in four Georgia counties over failure to comply with the state’s early voting requirements.
Most recently, Trump called for Mike Pence to vote against certifying the election results in the Senate during a Monday rally in Georgia. His open defiance follows an hour-long recorded phone call with Raffenseperger, where Trump asked him to overturn the state election results.
In the end, a true commitment is needed not waged on the backs of Black voters, but on white and non-Black voters who realize that everyone’s liberation is uniquely tied together.
Here are a few resources/important accounts to follow to keep track of today’s events:
Kristen Clarke, Pres. & Exec Dir., Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Stacey Abrams, founder, Fair Fight
LaTosha Brown, founder, Black Voters Matter
Nse Ufot, New Georgia Project
When We All Vote