Georgia Ready To VTMFOA (Vote The Motherf**ker Out Already)
Donald Trump is making a campaign swing through Georgia today, to tell Black voters in Cobb County what a great economy he's given them, as long as you ignore everything since February. The visit comes a bit more than four years after Trump's inspiring call for African-American support in 2016, when he inspired Black voters with the stirring words, "You live in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?"
Crom only knows how he'll inspire the crowd, if any, today.
But while Georgia gave Trump a five-point victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, polling this year shows the race against Joe Biden is a good bit tighter. A New York Times poll released yesterday has Trump and Biden tied with 45 percent each, and a Monmouth University poll from Wednesday has Biden down by just one point, 47-46 percent, well within the margin of error.
What's more, as Georgia democracy activist and freedom fighter Stacey Abrams noted yesterday, interest in the election among folks who didn't vote at all in 2016 is way, way up, with 337,652 Georgians who sat out 2016 having requested absentee ballots. Particularly among demographics that are likely to swing Biden's way:
337,652 Georgians who did not vote at all in 2016 already requested ballots. This includes: 27% of Black voters re… https://t.co/zzONiHtnvo— Stacey Abrams (@Stacey Abrams)1600968340.0
What's more, the state is on track to set records for turnout this fall, with the secretary of state's elections director, Chris Harvey, estimating there will be "1.5 million absentee voters, 2 million early in-person voters and 2 million to 3 million in-person voters on Election Day."
But what about the embarrassing fuck-tussle at the polls that marked June's primary election? As you'll recall, there were hours-long waits to vote, people who never received absentee ballots they'd requested, and problem after problem with the state's new voting machines. It's still Georgia, and the Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger remains A Asshole, so that's definitely a concern. But at least election officials in Fulton County, which includes much of Atlanta, are planning to run things more smoothly this fall, the AP reports.
For starters, the number of early voting sites will be increased substantially. There were only eight sites open in Fulton County for the primary, but there will be 30 locations open during the three weeks of early voting before Election Day, plus two mobile voting precincts that will set up at various locations. And unlike on Election Day, voters don't need to go a particular precinct for voting early; they can use any of the sites, including at the sportsball arena where the Atlanta Hawks play.
The county hopes to overcome one of the biggest glitches from the primary, which involved poll workers being unable to get through to elections officials on jammed phone lines, or stuck with voting machines that didn't work. Maybe not this time:
About 100 people will staff three call centers to answer questions from voters or poll workers, who sometimes had trouble reaching the county during the primary. Every polling place will have a technician to troubleshoot equipment problems.
The county is also expanding the number of absentee-ballot drop-off points, with about 40 drop boxes all over the Atlanta area. Lines may be less of a problem, too, with 91 additional polling places being added since the primary.
Also, it's worth noting that even with all the problems in the primary, Georgians nonetheless got out and voted, with nearly three times the voter turnout over the 2016 Senate election primary. Just under a million people voted in the Democratic primary, choosing Jon Ossoff to run against incumbent David Perdue. That race is close, too; show Ossoff some campaign contribution love if you can!
Even better, following 2018's deeply fucked election, which Stacey Abrams narrowly "lost," Georgia actually unfucked many of its absentee voting rules, leading to far fewer mail-in votes being rejected. The biggest reason for mailed ballots being rejected in the primary was that they'd arrived after 7 p.m. on Election Day. And as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports,
A federal judge recently extended the deadline for absentee ballots to be returned. U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross ruled that absentee ballots must be counted if they're postmarked by Election Day and received within three days afterward. That decision is being appealed, creating the possibility that the previous deadline could be reinstated.
Also too, here's a fun number on new registrations in Georgia this year:
Voters under 25 years old make up the fastest-growing age group, increasing by 4% since the May 11 voter registration deadline for the state's primary election [In June]. Meanwhile, the number of voters over 65 decreased slightly.
Republicans still have an advantage in Georgia, but it keeps declining year after year, thanks especially to registration efforts like those run by Abrams and others. Georgia hasn't gone to a Democrat in a presidential election since 1992, with Bill Clinton. But the numbers this year are really making the state a battleground.
Mind you, if Donald Trump manages to say something really inspiring today, maybe his support among Black voters in Georgia will rocket up from its current four to five percent. "What the hell do you have to lose" seems unlikely to cut it these days, because we all know what we've lost.
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