Biden Pulls Ahead in Georgia: Blue Shift Follows Years of Community Organizing to Expand Electorate

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We go to Atlanta for an update, after Joe Biden pulled ahead of Donald Trump for the first time in Georgia. The 2020 presidential election could hinge on this extraordinarily tight race. Many credit the state’s blue shift to community organizers on the ground, including Stacey Abrams, who lost a hotly contested race for governor of Georgia in 2018 amid claims of widespread voter suppression and has since led a massive effort to get out the vote through her organizations Fair Fight and Fair Count. Both Senate races in Georgia also appear to be headed to runoff elections, and the state could determine if the GOP holds onto its Senate majority. “There has been a wide investment that has been deeply driven by community to expand the electorate,” says Anoa Changa, a freelance journalist based in Atlanta who focuses on electoral justice and voting rights.

TranscriptThis is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González, as we go to Georgia, where Joe Biden has pulled ahead of Donald Trump for the first time in an extraordinarily tight race for Georgia’s 16 electoral votes. With more than 98% reporting, Biden leads by more than 900 votes. Election officials estimate between 5,000 to 10,000 votes remain to be counted. On Thursday, Georgia’s voting system implementation manager, Gabriel Sterling, said a presidential recount is, quote, “more than likely.” He responded to a reporter’s question about election fairness and allegations of a, quote, “rigged system.”

GABRIEL STERLING: Well, I think if anybody’s going to try to rig a system, they might have seen something a little bit less close than this. That’s one. Two, we have, in this process, 159 dedicated elections directors and their staff who are working to get this right. They are working diligently every single day. We have the — we know how many requests came in for absentee ballots. We know how many ballots were received. So, that is an outward bound, so nobody could suddenly show up with 100,000 extra ballots somewhere. In this state, in particular, we take security very seriously. … We’re going to have a recount for president, more than likely. And people will see those outcomes stay essentially the same.

AMY GOODMAN: Many are crediting Georgia’s blue shift to community organizers on the ground, including Stacey Abrams, who lost a hotly contested race for governor of Georgia in 2018 and claims of widespread voter suppression. She has since been getting out the vote in Georgia with her organization, Fair Fight.

Well, for more, we go to Atlanta, where we’re joined by Anoa Changa. She’s a freelance journalist based in Atlanta covering electoral justice and voting rights.

Georgia is turning everything on its head, Anoa. You have Trump alleging fraud, saying where he was ahead and now behind is all Democrat-run states. Georgia is run by a Republican governor, Republican secretary of state. There’s a whole Republican infrastructure there. And it’s now flipped blue. You also have the two Senate races that could well go to a runoff, and they could determine the balance of the Senate. Talk about the significance of what’s happening in Georgia right now, Anoa.

ANOA CHANGA: Amy, thank you so much for making some time for us to talk about what’s happening in Georgia and the ridiculous claims coming from the current president of the United States about fraud, which have been debunked time and time again. And as you just astutely pointed out, Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger are actually Republicans and have been in control of the state of Georgia for the last 10 years, with Brian Kemp previously serving also as secretary of state, and notably in 2018 being — overseeing his own election to the governorship, right?

So, what we’re seeing right now is the continuation of work, as you pointed out, with Stacey Abrams and Fair Fight post-2018, but also also organizations like the New Georgia Project, founded in 2013 and 2014 by Stacey Abrams and Nse Ufot, who serves as the current CEO. You also have Black Voters Matter, the Georgia People’s Agenda. You have so many amazing organizations — Asian Americans Advancing Justice. There has been a wide investment that has been deeply driven by community to expand the electorate and also recognizes the coalition of Black, Latinx, AAPI and other voters, progressive voters, young voters, is what was going to shift Georgia to a state that actually respected all people, regardless of their citizenship status, regardless of their income, etc., and actually bring about opportunity to change. We are still a state that has not had Medicaid expansion, among other things. And so, what we’re seeing right now is a culmination of several years, if not more, of the work of many Georgians to reset the state back from where it has been under the control of centrist, moderate, white Dem leadership that lost the state back in 2010.

For fuil transcript or to view the video segment, go here.