Georgians do not make lemonade when handed lemons. They throw them back in the faces of those who dare to serve them. Politico reported on early voting in Georgia, and it is a beautiful thing. After the debacle of the June primaries, when people waited in line to vote for 7 hours (and sometimes more), and the 2018 election where Stacey Abrams lost the state by 1%, Georgia voters decided they were not staying home no matter the obstacles. The stakes are far too high. Voter enthusiasm is up, and people are volunteering to ensure that everyone gets the chance to vote.
Both Fulton and Cobb Counties have been growing at incredible rates, and the bulk of that growth is making both counties more diverse. Polling locations were consolidated because of COVID, so they say. People waited up to six hours to vote but wait they did. Motivation is at an all-time high, and most of us know why. Politico spoke with some of the Georgia voters, and many believe voter suppression to be at the root of the problems, including longs lines and malfunctioning machines. Despite the deterrents, Georgia voters have increased turnout 110% from 2016, with almost 3 million ballots having been cast. This is the last week of early voting in Georgia, and these numbers are expected to increase.
To get out the vote, Democrats organized caravans and volunteered to be poll workers and poll watchers. As Politico reported, “voters here are turning out in waves.” Former UN Ambassador Andrew Young, recently named to a statewide elections improvement task force, said that this is “the largest turnout, I think, statewide that I have ever seen. It’s a good sign for democracy.” Pitching in with getting voters to the polls is LaTosha Brown, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter. Brown believes that Georgia is now “a purple state. So, this isn’t just about partisanship. This is about power.”
Another lifelong Georgia voter, Aurelia Gray, signed up as an election volunteer after her experience in June. She waited four hours to vote and “was inspired to act.” Even with the enthusiasm and volunteerism, Politico reported that some Georgians still waited up to 11 hours to vote. As voting has continued, some improvements have been made, allowing Fulton County voters to wait 30 minutes or less, reflecting the power of the voice. More than 737,000 Black people have already voted, poising the Black population to exceed the record we set in 2008 when folks were excited to vote for Barack Obama.
Contributing to the diversity in Georgia is an Asian American population that has grown by 43% and the Latino population, which has grown by 118% over the last two decades. One affluent suburb near Atlanta called Johns Creek saw its Asian population grow to make up a quarter of the residents. They helped elect Lucy McBath over professional candidate Karen Handel. While they may not necessarily vote Democrat, it likely does not help that Trump keeps referring to coronavirus as “China flu.” If nothing else, the possibility of ridding our country of Trump is motivation enough. Keep talking, Trump. You are helping more than you know.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years