On Tuesday, I told you that if we are going to win elections like the Governor’s races in Georgia, Florida, and Maryland, if we are going to swing the House and Senate, if we are going to win key races in Texas and Wisconsin, and in your own city and state, it’s going to be because we voted early. And the first early voting results from Georgia are in. And they are shocking.
In the 2014 midterms, during early voting in Georgia 20,898 people voted on Day 1. That number got smaller from there.
On this past Monday, the first day of early voting in Georgia, the number tripled to 69,049 people. Then on Tuesday, the second day of early voting, the number of people didn’t get smaller like it did in previous years, it got bigger – 76,063 people voted early on Day 2 of early voting in Georgia.
Now listen to me – some people are cheering, and I mean, I’m glad people are voting early, but we don’t know if those historic early voting numbers are for us or not. Stacey Abrams is consistently tied in the polls with her opponent, the bigoted Secretary of State Brian Kemp, so those could be his people out there voting in huge numbers too, but all I know is that if we don’t get out there and vote early every single day, between now and Election Day in November, we aren’t going to win this election in Georgia, or the elections anywhere for that matter.
In case you’ve missed it, Stacey’s opponent in Georgia, Brian Kemp, as Secretary of State, runs the elections in Georgia, and has done everything within his power for years and years now, to slash the voter rolls and disenfranchise Black voters. Over the past 10 years conservatives in Georgia have stripped the voter registration from over 1 million voters. It’s outrageous.
Now voting for us in the country has always been a war, from 1865 – 1965, we struggled to even be granted the right to vote in this country. We were killed when we tried to vote or tried to register people to vote. From 1965 until today, with the Voting Rights Act in place, mass incarceration has been used as the excuse to strip the right to vote from millions and millions of Black voters across the country.
And as states like Florida now have the rights of former felons to vote on the ballot, which would immediately grant 1.4 million former felons the right to vote, states like Georgia and others are doing everything in their power to find other means to strip the right to vote from us.
Early studies have found that even though just about 38% of Georgia is Black and Latino, nearly 80% of the people whose voter registration has been stripped are Black and Latino – and they are doing it for things that white folk don’t have problems with – like canceling your voter registration if your name is hyphenated on your ID, but not your registration, or vice versa. It’s all bogus.
That’s why today, no matter what state you are in, I need you to check a few things:
- Check to make sure your Driver’s License or State ID are valid and not expired and that they will be valid when you vote. If it isn’t, go get your license or ID updated now.
- Check your voter registration. In over 20 states, you can still register to vote, even if you are not registered today. But go to Vote.org to check your registration and register in case it says you aren’t registered.
- Now, if you are registered and have a valid form of ID, VOTE EARLY. All you need to do is Google the following words, “Early voting locations” and the name of your state. And that will take you right to where you can vote early.
And I’m going to close us today with a much bigger request. We’re going to have to go old school. I need you to ask your church to take busses and vans full of people to vote early. As you know, churches aren’t allowed to tell you who to vote for, but they can take you to vote. You already know who to vote for. Get your church to college students to vote. Get your church to take senior citizens to vote. If you can’t make that happen, or if you aren’t a part of a church, I just need you to hear me say that it’s not going to be enough for you to simply show up to vote.
You are going to have to take somebody with you. Take your colleagues, your classmates, your family members, your neighbors, ask your Facebook friends, do what you’ve never done before, so that this election, and we can win like we’ve never won before. Let’s do this!