Georgia Democrats’ ‘Get Out the Vote’ Movement Recruits Voters Days Leading Up To Election

Stacey Abrams' field office in Stockbridge, Ga. Photo by Sydney Williams, Howard University News Service

STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. – On a sunny Saturday morning, a Georgia Democrat field office is filled with busy volunteers working diligently to encourage voters to elect Stacey Abrams as the next governor.

A local volunteer campaigns for Stacey Abrams at a Georgia Democrat field office in Stockbridge, Ga. Photo by Sydney Williams, Howard University News Service.

In the final weekend before Election Day, Georgia Democrats are continuing their campaign efforts through the statewide Get Out the Vote (GOTV) movement.

Local volunteers throughout the state are reminding registered Democrats to elect Stacey Abrams on Nov. 6. Canvassing and phone banking are some of the strategies being used to reach individuals and families in the area.

The Georgia gubernatorial race has drawn national attention due to historical and controversial implications. Abrams, who would become the first African-American female governor in the United States if elected, is running in a tight race against current Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

Kemp has been accused of using voter suppression tactics to hinder many black voters. Local Democrats have blamed the secretary of state’s office of eliminating thousands of African-Americans from the voter registration rolls. In DeKalb County, which is 54 percent black, nearly 5,000 mail-in absentee ballot applications went missing. Former President Jimmy Carter even called for Kemp’s resignation.

A Georgia judge ruled against Kemp on Friday that previously purged voters must be allowed to vote on Election Day. In light of this ruling, Democrats are making last-minute efforts to ensure black voters hit the polls on Tuesday. The GOTV movement is reaching out to registered African-American Democrats to secure their votes.

“The reason why this election cycle is so vital is because [this election] speaks volumes for the even the smallest, lowest income individuals,” says Henry Holmes, staging director for Georgia Democrats. “We have people coming out that [have never been] involved in politics. Now they’re coming out [because] they want to be a part of history.”

Early voting ended in Georgia on Friday, and numbers indicate a surge in Georgian participation in this year’s elections. According to Georgiavotes.com, over 2 million residents voted early. Thus far, 2018 voter turnout is 120 percent higher than this point in 2014. Non-voters (voters who did not participate during the 2014 elections) make up 37.9 percent of early voters in Georgia.

Voters cite Abrams’ historical campaign as the main reason for getting involved. Some voters are taking the extra step to support Abrams by volunteering with her campaign team.

“I’ve never gotten involved with or helped out a campaign,” says Jerri Glass, an educator in Georgia. “But it was important for me to do it for this election. It’s such a historic time to have a governor who has the same concerns that I have.”

Diana Hope-Baker, a recent transplant to Georgia from New York, shares the same sentiment for electing a governor who relates to the needs of everyday citizens. “There are a lot of things that I noticed [have led] to people who are underserved not getting their needs met, and I feel like Stacey Abrams will allow them to have those basic necessities met.”

Georgia Democrats will continue campaigning until Election Day on Tuesday.