50-State Strategy: Georgia
Power-Building Strategy: Pass HR 1, the For the People Act, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
While Arizona is a close second, Georgia was arguably the brightest spot on the 2020 electoral map. Joe Biden’s narrow victory in the state and the two majority-making U.S. Senate wins were key to putting Democrats back in charge of our federal government.
None of that would have been possible without Stacey Abrams’s visionary, long-term plan, as she outlined in her recent New York Times editorial with Lauren Groh-Wargo. Her determination to turn Georgia blue syncs exactly with the kind of long-term change in the states that EveryDistrict was founded to do four years ago.
Abrams knows exactly what needs to happen in Georgia moving forward to further cement Georgia’s status as a purple turning blue state (and we hope part of that plan is seeing her name on the ballot again). But right now, she could use some assistance from the Democratic congressional majority that she made happen in the form of HR 1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.
Republicans, who still control Georgia’s state government, are not even trying to hide the racist intent behind their most recent voter suppression tactics. After high turnout among Black voters clinched the two U.S. Senate runoffs in Democrats’ favor, dozens of bills have been introduced in the GOP-controlled state legislature for the current session that would restrict the vote. Some measures, like increasing photo ID requirements, have been demonstrated to make it more difficult for Black voters in particular to exercise their constitutional rights. The most targeted proposal is the one that would eliminate early voting on Sundays, when Black churches traditionally hold “souls to the polls” campaigns to encourage voting.
HR 1 would help to blunt the effects of some of this legislation by enacting from the federal level extended early voting periods and automatic voter registration. It would also implement campaign finance reforms and require states to use independent, nonpartisan commissions to draw congressional districts.
What hangs in the balance of these voting rights battles? In 2022, Senator Raphael Warnock will be back on the ballot to compete for a full six-year term. The governorship will be up again. Democratic incumbents like Rep. Lucy McBath and Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux will face tough re-elects in an election where we generally expect to see a few-point swing away from Democrats. Holding those seats is critical for ensuring Democrats maintain our majority in the U.S. House. (And as much as we would like to see her no longer a member of Congress, Taylor Greene’s seat is the second most-GOP leaning district in the state and a Democrat just isn’t going to win there in 2022. We minimize her power by focusing our efforts on the seats that will ensure Republicans remain in the minority in the House.)
At the state legislative level, we see flipping the legislature as a long-term investment. But, Georgia was one of the few purple states that saw state legislative gains in 2022, and there are several additional seats that we see as likely flip opportunities in 2022 with the right investment. Given that the GOP-controlled legislature controls redistricting, we don’t expect the maps to become extraordinarily more favorable before 2022. Continued Democratic growth in the state, though, will open up new opportunities.
But without HR 1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, none of this will be possible. In 2020, a majority of Georgia voters chose a new future. We need to ensure that every voice is heard, and every vote is counted, in the elections to come.
How you can advance a 50-state strategy in Georgia:
- Call your members of Congress and tell them to support HR 1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to ensure fair elections in Georgia in the future, building on Stacey Abrams’ transformative work in the state.
- Invest in state legislative races in Georgia in 2022 to build the path toward a future Democratic majority in the legislature.