Nowhere are midterm elections more anticipated and taken more seriously than in Georgia. Yes, I repeat myself. For the past year and a half, Democrats in Georgia have been as aggressive as they can be, even counting the days until the election (109 today, if that interests you). And, unlike post-election cycles, the excitement hasn’t waned. On the contrary, the determination of Georgia Republicans and Mitch McConnell to make Reverend Warnock a vacationer in the Senate has strengthened the resolve (especially) of African Americans but of all South Georgia Democrats. And that enthusiasm is mostly driven by young African Americans, people in their twenties, volunteers who understand, as one organizer put it, “our time has come. OUR TIME.”
438 volunteers came out of knocked on doors on Saturday to Field PAC’s Hope Springs in 17 counties in southern Georgia. We are no longer rooted in Albany, home of Albany State University (which provided an inordinate number of volunteers and our organizers). Volunteer organizers, who are mostly products of HBCUs, especially Albany State and Fort Valley State University, or the Divine Nines, are now confident in running their own campaigns in their home county or a county close to where they live. These children (and they are children to me) are our future.
We ask voters who opened their doors if they were registered to vote at their current address and if they have the required photo ID, they must vote. Some of our volunteers (apparently partner churches) will ask to “see them”, asking voters to produce their photo ID needed to vote. We are still finding people who need photo ID. And we’re still running (free) voter card days for those who do (in fact, we have four scheduled in the next two weeks).
Our main focus has been the investigation of the issues. Normally, about 60-65% of voters we talk to answer some or all of these questions. Every week, we ask voters what issue they think is the most pressing facing America right now. This week, voters said health care costs were their most pressing concern. Second, there were people who complained about the economy and the prospect of a recession. We have now heard recession fears mentioned by voters in every state we canvass. Crime was the third most frequent response this week.
Voters’ opinion of President Biden has started to improve, but it’s nowhere near Reverend Warnock’s. 62% of voters we spoke to expressed their approval of President Biden in Florida on Saturday. 12% expressed disapproval of the job the president was doing. We keep getting feedback from voters that they wanted Biden to be able to do more on gas prices, inflation, and farm loan assistance.
Hope springs from the PAC field knocked on doors as part of a grassroots-led effort to prepare the electoral battleground in what has been called the first round of a traditional five-round canvass. We are bringing these efforts to the doorsteps of the communities most affected (the targets or intended victims) of these new voter suppression laws.
Obviously, we rely on grassroots support, so if you support grassroots/grassroots organizing, voter registration (and follow-up), and our efforts to protect our voters, we would certainly appreciate your support:
Hope springs from the PAC field understands that repeated face-to-face interactions are essential. And we’re among those who think Democrats didn’t do as well as expected in the 2020 congressional races because we didn’t knock on doors — and we didn’t register new voters (so that the Republicans missed). We are going back to the fundamentals of the old school: repeated contact, repeated efforts to remind them of the protocols, to meet them where they are. Mentoring those who need it (such as new voters and new registrants). Call back, call back, call back, then chase down the voters whose ballots need to be cured.
81% of voters we spoke to approved of Reverend Warnock’s work in the Senate. Only 5% expressed disapproval this week. We knock on the doors of Democrats and Independents, and the nine counties we surveyed on Saturday were not predominantly Democratic. We don’t knock on the doors of Republican homes (although we do knock on the doors of mixed homes).
Governor Kemp didn’t fare so well. 11% of voters we spoke to approved of the governor’s work, while 49% disapproved. In Georgia, we also ask voters what they think of Stacey Abrams and 63% expressed approval; 8% said they disapproved. We enter all of this data that we collect into VAN, the Democrats’ Shared Database, which is made available to all Democratic candidates who use it after the primaries.
We registered 18 new voters and Re-registered or corrected electoral addresses for 129 electors last Saturday. But our organizers always want to try to replicate what we’re doing in North Carolina, hoping that the unregistered voter rolls from our partnership with Black Churches with a Turf will produce the same kind of results we’re finding in North Carolina.
We also ask voters if they have any concerns about the upcoming election. Last year, we talked about changes to election laws in Georgia, but we also asked voters about their fears and experience in previous elections. Voters who say they have experienced bullying or other voting problems are asked to file incident reports. We have found 14 voters who wanted to file incident reports in Georgia on Saturday — all in counties where we hadn’t started canvassing until just before the primary. We collate these incident reports, to share with local, state, and federal officials in charge of voting, and use them to plan our election protection strategy in the fall. They could also be used in court cases.
Like last summer and fall, we asked voters if they had any local infrastructure issues they could tell elected officials about. In Georgia, we regularly found people who wanted to fill out voter service request forms. 124 voters raised an area they wanted to address. A lot of them come from counties where we didn’t start canvassing until after the primary.
Requests for Constituent Service are given to office holders (hopefully Democrats) with responsibilities in the area of the request. Q slips will be sent directly to the campaigns of Democratic candidates. Comments from observation forms are also entered into the VAN, and any questions we collect are forwarded to the appropriate campaigns (or elected officials). We’re building a goldmine of data that Democrats (who use VAN in November) can deploy for their own voter-contact purposes.
If you are able to support our efforts to protect Democratic voters, especially in minority communities, expand the electorate, and believe in grassroots efforts to increase voter participation and election protection, please help:
Thank you for your support. This job depends on you!