This year’s 2020 Presidential Election was definitely one to remember, with the entire country anxiously awaiting the results all while presidential nominees focused their main points amidst a pandemic. An issue, however, that remained prevalent throughout the election, and will continue to affect future elections at both the national and state level, is the concern of voter suppression. With the Georgia Senate runoff elections occurring on January 5th, 2021, the need for a fair fight, to ensure that every applicable voter’s voice is heard, is urgent.
“This is about so much more than just Georgia… they determine the two Senate seats flipped to the Democrats… if won, Democrats will control Congress and the executive branch” explains Masuk Social Studies Instructional Leader Ian Lowell.
Mr. Lowell contributes an example to the conversation by mentioning how Monroe is a Republican town and continues to vote Republican in elections. Keeping in mind the stimulus check and any COVID related expenses, towns like Monroe who vote mostly Republican might be changed if the government turns Democratic.
However, voter suppression, an issue that is not so common close to home, as Monroe and the majority of Connecticut offer several voting opportunities for the whole community, still remains a key inhibiting factor in affecting the election results in the state of Georgia.
Specifically targeting the black community in Georgia, citizens have been stripped from the ability to find a place close to home to vote, leading to a missed and uncounted vote. Due to mismanaged voting machines, found especially in communities of color, votes were unrecorded, as seen when 100,000 votes suddenly became missing from the 2018 Lieutenant Governor’s race. And from 2010-2018, when around 1.6 million voters were ineligible to vote, along with 53,000 voter registrations prohibited and placed in a seemingly never-ending “pending” status; eighty percent of these voters were people of color.
This is not the first time this sort of discrimination at the national and state level has been seen. The neglect of African Americans specifically in the south has been an issue for centuries and continues to affect voting booths and a fair way to contribute for the whole U.S. population, as Mr. Lowell continues into the conversation.
Fair Fight is an organization founded by political activist and democracy advocate Stacey Abrams in 2018, made to promote fair elections in Georgia and all around the U.S. Fair Fight also has purposes to encourage voter participation, educate voters about elections and their voting rights, and most importantly to advocate for election reform. Following the previously mentioned severe mismanagement of the 2018 Georgia elections by the Secretary of State’s office, Stacey Abrams knew that she could not stand back in the midst of voter suppression and decided to fight back. It was an election which prevented the rights of voters with a minimal amount of polls available, and incredibly long lines to the polls that were open. Using Fair Fight to file a federal court lawsuit against the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office and Georgia Board of Elections in 2018, Abrams created movements and started a conversation: to prevent any future suppression of voting rights of any American.
“I’m making it my mission to advocate for free and fair elections. Join our fight to ensure access to democracy for all,” states Stacey Abrams, encouraging the public’s help on the Fair Fight organization website.
Taking a look at the founder of this great organization, Stacey Abrams has proved her own in the political world. She served 11 years in the Georgia House of Representatives, seven years as the Democratic Leader, and in 2018 was the Democratic nominee for the Governor of Georgia, making history by winning more votes than any other Democratic candidate in any past election. This is not the only place where Abrams made her mark; she was also the first black woman to be a gubernatorial nominee for a major part in the U.S., and was the first Georgian to deliver a response to the State of the Union. She has dedicated her career in making certain that every American has their voice heard within the election system, especially as the country looks forward into the new year.
In a recent podcast reflecting on the highs and lows of the year 2020, Abrams touches on the severe discrimination of individuals and their rights, specifically in her home state, and how there are people all over the country attempting to make a difference in both their own neighborhoods and at the polls.
“Where the darkest moments, like the murders of Ahmaud Arbery of Glynn County and Rayshard Brooks of Atlanta, were met with silence and sometimes with anger. But they were also met with [a] persistence of young voices who were in the streets demanding change, and they also demanded change at the ballot box. That’s something I always hoped for Georgia. But to know that it was real, to see it in action, was just transformative,” closes Abrams.
At the time of print, Democrat Raphael Warnock won the Senate position against Republican Kelly Loeffler, becoming the first black senator to represent Georgia. Democrat Jon Ossoff also won the race against Republican David Perdue, securing Democrats their control in the Senate.
Fair Fight website : https://fairfight.com/