Georgia’s changing population is helping the state become more progressive
Black women in Georgia have been committed to getting voters registered
Georgia has been a red state for nearly three decades. The state hasn’t elected a Democratic president since 1993 when Bill Clinton took office.
Today, with hundreds of thousands of new residents pouring into the peach state, Georgia’s population is becoming increasingly diverse, nudging it into the swing state category.
In November, President-elect Joe Biden won Georgia, but only by a narrow margin. With the US Senate runoffs only days away, political experts are wondering if the state’s changing political demographics will result in another Democratic win.
According to a US Census Bureau report, Georgia ranked as the top fifth state to welcome the most newcomers in 2019. 50,000 transplants from abroad, along with thousands of people who relocated from other states, have likely played an integral part in “blue-ing” the state’s suburbs, which have long been Republican strongholds.
“New residents have absolutely played a role, not only in our shifting demographics, but also in what’s possible with our politics, and soon with policy,” says Nse Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan voter registration group.
“This influx of people coming into our state from not only across the country but across the globe, has only sort of underscored Georgia as this (cosmopolitan) melting pot, gathering place, in the Deep South,” he continued.
Black women in Georgia have been committed to getting voters registered, and the recent Presidential election that shifted Georgia from red to blue is largely credited to the effort of these women. The get-out-the-vote campaign that helped Biden continues to be supported by civic groups and political heavy hitters like Stacey Abrams and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, according to CNN.
While no one is absolutely certain of how influential newcomers have been in flipping Georgia from red to blue, Charles Bullock, a political professor at the University of Georgia in Athens says the Georgia voter registration rolls offer clues.
“We know that a million new voters registered since 2016,” Bullock said, adding that the number doesn’t necessarily mean all of those new voters were newcomers, but that number likely also includes new residents. “We’re also talking about a significant influx of AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) and Latinx Georgians.”
With the drastic changes that are occurring in Georgia’s demographics, Bullock says the Republican leadership in the state is “beginning to awaken to the challenges that they’re going to confront.”
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