Charged Up: Profile of a 21-Year-Old Georgia Voter

By LeAnne N. Roberts
Howard University News Service

Nick Daniels describes himself as a 21-year-old “Howard dropout.” Financial woes forced him to unenroll from the university, and he now works as an I.T. technician for a tech company in Atlanta. He lives in Rockville County, Georgia, which is on the east side of the Metro Atlanta area in the 4th Congressional district.

LR: It’s a fascinating time to be a Georgian, especially for outsiders looking in. There are several important elections happening in your state. What is motivating you to vote?

Daniels: I grew up in a voting household. Being politically aware and active is incredibly important to my parents, and I am a civically engaged person. I have ADHD, I am a Black man, and I’m queer — so the practical applications of policy is something I’m very passionate about.

I have come of age in a time when local races to Senate races are equally as pressing and important, especially in Georgia. I’m not as motivated by the politics of Stacey Abrams or Raphael Warnock, per se. As a country, we’ve moved to the left, and I’m more motivated by the historic nature of the elections — Stacy could be the first woman governor, Bee Nguyen could be the first [Asian American] woman secretary of state in Georgia, and I know there is no perfect candidate.

LR: How do you identify as a voter? Would you please expand on your thoughts on Stacey Abrams?

Daniels: I refuse to identify as a liberal. I’m a leftist. Too many centrist Democrats harp on liberalism as a savior, and it is corporate nonsense.

In Georgia, we normally get Republicans running as Democrats. They have centrist policies that line pockets and never really affect real change. Georgia is not a moderate state, and that’s why there is so little excitement about Democrats. Stacey Abrams felt very leftist in 2018 because it was 2018. [President] Biden has shifted further to the left than she has. She takes stances that young people and more fringe voters might take issue with. For instance, she says she’s not going to defund the police. Not surprising, but in my opinion … she’s not gonna get any more votes for rejecting popular fringe ideas.

LR: As a Black male, what is it like watching the race between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker?

Daniels: With Raphael Warnock, I’m happy to elect someone who is a pastor. I’m not religious myself, but he comes from a tradition of political activism via the Black church. It’s ridiculous that the race is so close because Warnock is significantly more competent than Herschel Walker in every way that counts.”

LR: How are you encouraging your peers to vote?

Daniels: One of my friends is the only person eligible to vote in his immigrant family (where his parents aren’t legal residents), and whenever he entered his personal information, it kept glitching and saying that it was wrong. He lived in the same apartment in Dekalb County with his family, but he moved to an apartment unit, and the system was making a big deal of that. He wasn’t able to be registered, so that’s one less voter. Dekalb County is a Democratic stronghold, but at this point, everything can be suspected of voter suppression. He missed the deadline, and he’s not the strongest voter, but there’s one less person voting because the system isn’t as easy as it can possibly be.

I’m grateful most of my peers are registered, but all of these races will come down to thousands of voters deciding who the next governor/senator/attorney general will be. Brian Kemp is the former attorney general of Georgia and his former colleague is up for reelection against Bee Nguyen. There are a lot of Georgians not paying attention, and so I use all of my personal platforms to bring attention to that.

LR: What does political advertising look like in Georgia right now?

Daniels: There are a lot of unusual ads. Abortion, race, and policy are being thrown like it’s an episode of the Looney Tunes. I’m not seeing enough marketing toward Black male voters as much as I did in 2020. I can tell there’s a lot less money being spent in this election.

LeAnne N. Roberts is a reporter for HUNewsService.