In the days before primary election results started to trickle in on Tuesday, Black leaders reminded Democrats, particularly those in Georgia, of a message that holds true despite GOP tactics to undermine Georgians: Our votes still matter.
“Every state legislative seat is up for a vote this year in Georgia, so those state House seats, those state Senate seats that control the process here at the State Capitol right behind us, those are on the ballot right now,” U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams said in an interview with MSNBC host Joy Reid on Monday. “And so we have to encourage our voters to turn out, to vote for those leaders, so that we can change the face of power in this Capitol.”
LaTosha Brown, co-founder of the voting nonprofit Black Voters Matter, was seated alongside Williams during the interview. “This is really about power,” Brown said. “How do we wield power, and when do you have enough power, right?
“You have enough power when your communities are taken care of, when your schools are adequately funded, when you have access to health care. We don’t currently have that.”
Republicans forced through a new and more restrictive voting law in Georgia. Then, Gov. Brian Kemp followed that action by signing into law a new redistricting plan that inspired three lawsuits alleging gerrymandering. The law slashed congressional districts, pushing majority-Democratic areas of West Cobb County into the territory of far-right Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene’s 14th Congressional District and forcing Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath’s 6th District into a majority-Republican hotbed.
Reid summarized the GOP voter suppression tactics with these words: “It feels, Latosha, like they designed a voting law to make it only easy for their voters to vote and then say, ‘See look, it’s a great law for everyone.’ And then they’ve designed these districts to essentially take Black voters’ power and shove it underneath somebody like Marjorie Greene, who has no interest in these people at all.”
The changes follow two recent U.S. Senate wins for Georgia Democrats and a majority of Georgia voters backing President Joe Biden, in effect flipping a state blue that hasn’t backed a Democrat for president since Bill Clinton in 1992.
Many credit Stacey Abrams, the former legislator and a candidate in the state gubernatorial race, for spearheading an effort to register new voters, particularly those who had been historically overlooked. In a state riddled with allegations of vote suppression, Abrams worked with the New Georgia Project nonprofit to register an estimated 800,000 new voters, mostly people of color and young people.
“That’s why this gubernatorial election is so important,” Brown said, noting that 100% of the state’s population growth captured in the most recent census happened in communities of color. “We have got to take over the state of Georgia, state politics from the top of the ticket on down, because we cannot continue to be punished because people participate.”
Powered by WPeMatico