Story at a glance
- The 2020 Election had historic levels of voter turnout.
- In several states where the results of the presidential election are close, voter turnout could decide the race.
- Several Black women have been organizing for years to get out the vote in their communities.
Stacey Abrams lost the 2018 gubernatorial election in Georgia. But the first Black female major party nominee in the United States was in it for more than an election.
"We know that voter suppression has happened in every single election because it's baked into the DNA of America," Stacey Abrams told the Root.
In 2018, photos, videos and stories of long lines that kept Georgia voters waiting throughout the night to cast their ballots brought national attention to the challenges influencing voter turnout. So after losing with more votes than any Democrat ever during a statewide election dogged by claims of voter suppression, Abrams kept working, founding Fair Fight and Fair Count. This year, a record number of Georgia voters turned out for early voting, and many lawmakers have credited her efforts.
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But many on social media were quick to point out that she wasn’t alone — including Abrams herself.
So many deserve credit for 10yrs to new Georgia: @gwlauren @fairfightaction @nseufot @NewGAProject @AAAJ_Atlanta @GALEOorg @BlackVotersMtr Helen Butler @GeorgiaDemocrat @RebeccaDeHart DuBose Porter @DPGChair. Always John Lewis. Charge any omissions to my head. My heart is full.— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) November 6, 2020
While this list is far from exhaustive, these are the women Abrams shouted out and a few others you should know. You probably haven’t heard the last of them.
Ufot is the CEO of the New Georgia Project (NGP), a nonpartisan effort to register and civically engage the rising electorate in Georgia. The NGP registered more than 50,000 Georgians to vote this year, according to the organization's website, and offered rides to the polls and other resources for voters.
"We refused to let a global pandemic, civil unrest and several attempts at voter (and cultural) suppression stop us. But we turned our disappointment and frustration into power to push us through—to touch Georgians who needed to know their voices matter and that those voices need to be heard through their votes," Nse said in a release.
Helen Butler is the executive director of the Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda, an advocacy organization that has not only been active in election efforts but also the coronavirus response, acting as a lead partner for the CDC Flu Vaccination campaign.
"Let's not sugar-coat the situation: Our democracy is under attack. When President Trump disregards Congress' oversight authority, our democracy is under attack. When state election officials suppress voter turnout in communities of color, our democracy is under attack. When corporate donors anonymously funnel untold millions of dollars into campaigns, our democracy is under attack," she wrote in 2019, ahead of the Democratic primary presidential debate in Atlanta.
Rebecca DeHart is the CEO of Fair Count, a nonprofit that has partnered with Hard to Count to get out both the count (for the 2020 Census) as well as the vote.
Deborah Scott is the executive director of Georgia Strategic Alliance for New Directions and Unified Policies (GA STAND-UP), which advocates for equity in community economic development. In 2012, she was honored by the White House “for her innovative energy priorities and sustainable living practices making a greener community a possibility in any American city or town.”
Tamieka Atkins is the executive director of ProGeorgia, a nonpartisan voter engagement advocacy organization that was born out of a coalition of 12 organizations in 2012 that has now increased to 30.
"The voting landscape in Georgia has been changed forever," Atkins wrote in 2018. "Women have seized an outsized share of the electorate, and more and more women of color are participating in our democracy. Regardless of the outcomes, this is a win for Georgia and for America."
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