Activist Nsé Ufot discusses Georgia’s voting success

EXCLUSIVE: Ufot is the CEO of the New Georgia Project, an organization dedicated to civically engaging Georgians

Nsé Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project (NGP) and the New Georgia Project Action Fund (NGPAF), is one of the heroes of the Georgia runoff election on Jan. 5. The runoff resulted in wins for the two Democratic candidates for senator, Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

In an exclusive interview with theGrio, Ufot expressed that she is most proud of the almost seven thousand people that her organization registered to vote in the 30 days after the November general election.

Executive Director of the New Georgia Project Nse Ufot
Executive Director of the New Georgia Project Nse Ufot speaks on stage during the “Count Every Vote” message in the wake of the presidential election results at Freedom Park on November 07, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images for MoveOn)

“People need to know that we do this. This is what we do, that the new Georgia is real and that we are working to build an active, robust democracy where our peoples voices are heard,” she said.

Read More: Georgia sets new early voting record for Senate runoffs

When Ufot first heard the incredible news that Georgia had flipped from red to blue in the election, she and some of her colleagues were at a most unlikely location. They were at the top of Stone Mountain, the largest Confederate monument on Earth, doing a photo shoot as an act of resistance to highlight the work of the new Georgia project.

“It was a really, really good feeling to know that the will of the people was finally being reflected in the results of our elections,” Ufot recalled.

With Georgia’s long and recent history of voter suppression, the election victory did not come without some strategic hard work and obstacles. Ufot pointed out that oftentimes people equate voter suppression with “Bubba on the back of a pickup truck with a shotgun trying to intimidate Black voters.” Although she acknowledged that run-ins with “Bubba” still exist, the more pernicious and widespread voter suppression is seen in insidious actions like purging voter rolls, challenging voter rolls, and a reduction in the number of polling locations.

“Georgia has closed about 10 percent of its polling locations, even in the middle of a pandemic. You know, Georgia has had no-fault vote by mail for the better part of a decade, but refused to pay for postage,” Ufot said. She went on to say that young people who were born in 2002 and were voting for the first time in the elections had to be educated on the cost of a stamp, where stamps could be purchased, and they had to be instructed on how to mail ballots back.

Ufot’s organization has been accused of registering non-Georgians to vote in the state, and she scoffs at that idea, calling it “ridiculous.” According to Ufot, she feels fortunate to be in a community with former candidate for governor, Stacey Abrams, Latasha Brown and others who are aware of the voting problems the Black community faces and have figured out what tools are needed to remedy those problems.

Read More: Stacey Abrams slams GOP over voter suppression in Georgia

“Yes, I regularly lean into their knowledge [Abrams and Brown], their wisdom and what we are building that will allow our communities to win. Like…real wins, not just moral victories, but actual wins, and then defend those wins beyond one election cycle.”

The New Georgia Project is a nonpartisan effort to register and civically engage Georgians. To date, the NGP has registered nearly 500,000 people from underrepresented communities to vote in Georgia. In addition to registering voters, NGP also advocates for civil and human rights causes and works to advance justice on behalf of historically marginalized communities.

The New Georgia Project Action Fund, a 501(c)(4), exists to increase the civic participation of underrepresented & underserved communities of color. The Committee for a New Georgia, a state political action committee, is the independent political arm of the NGPAF. The Committee supports campaigns that address underrepresented and underserved communities for a better Georgia.

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