The resilience of Georgia voters has been evident throughout the limited early voting period for the Senate runoff. With a month less than the 2020 runoff cycle, organizers have been working hard to get people out to the polls just one more time this cycle.
In the final push ahead of the Dec. 6 runoff election, Michelle Obama’s “When We All Vote” joined several Georgia-based organizations to build momentum and excitement and boost voter turnout, the “On The Run-Off Tour” will include rallies across the state featuring free food, music, entertainment and voter education.
The groups were joined by over 100 motorcyclists from Black Bikers Vote, riding through each location to raise awareness and excitement. Amanda Hollowell, “When We All Vote’s” managing director of organizing, said the organization worked with local Georgia partners to host a concert to encourage voter turnout. She said it was important to continue building opportunities for intentional engagement with communities across Georgia.
“I wanted to make sure I found groups who were intentional, who were statewide, and who also had resources and reach to execute this tour,” Hollowell said. “These places had significantly lower turnout than usual, but lower considering if you compared it to how many people were registered in those areas. So, this was something that we should do to create enthusiasm in their community.”
Hollowell said partnering with the ACLU of Georgia, Georgia Working Families Power, Represent GA, Black Voters Matter and Black Bikers vote was important. The tour made its way through several Georgia cities: Columbus, Albany and Savannah on Dec. 3, and Augusta and Atlanta on Dec. 4.
“As a resident of one of these communities, I know what it looks like when people don’t show up,” Hollowell said. “We’re not vote shaming; we’re vote encouraging. We’re vote-educating. Everyone in Georgia knows the importance of this election. So, we don’t have to browbeat people, but we can celebrate.”
Kimberlyn Carter, co-founder and executive director of Rep GA, spoke about the personal stakes for all the women involved in the tour. After working on a Black Youth Renaissance Tour with Black Voters Matter Fund’s Georgia State Director Fenika Miller, Carter said it was really important to lean into opportunities to engage Black voters in innovative ways.
“The work we’re doing with recruiting, training, deploying building civic leaders is extremely connected to how people participate civically,” Carter explained. “To say we see it too, we want to help to energize and mobilize our people. So, this tour has a very different theme and ethos to it.”
ACLU of Georgia’s Fallon McClure said that Georgia voters have repeatedly shown up to the polls. She said this was a way to say thank you to voters instead of simply demanding they vote one more time.
“The motivation for this tour is Black joy,” McClure said. “We just want to use this as an opportunity to thank them for continuing to show up and vote, continuing to save democracy, and also want to have a good time.”
Partners for the “On The Run-Off Tour” include the ACLU of Georgia, Albany Voters Coalition, REP GA, Black Bikers Vote, BlackPush, Inc., Black Voters Matter Fund, Columbus Riding Community, Georgia Working Families Power, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, Morehouse Votes, NAACP Atlanta, Pizza to the Polls, Represent Georgia, When We All Vote and 1000 Women Strong.
“We need to build with communities all year round, not just show up a month before elections and be like, we got to vote,” McClure said. “We want to be present in the community and continue to build with communities…Folks closest to the problems do have good solutions. They don’t necessarily have the resources.”
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