The North Star is a network of Black and Latinx journalists and creators that provide daily news stories and podcasts with action steps that help you get involved. We speak truth to power without fear because our stories, our voices and our lives matter. Please consider becoming a member and enjoy exclusive benefits of our ad-free platform for as little as $5 a month.
Georgia voters have until the end of today to register for the crucial Senate runoff election on January 5. Voters in the Peach State will decide which party controls the Senate when the Biden administration takes office next year.
During the presidential election in November, Democrats managed to flip Georgia following a massive voter turnout campaign. Now, Democrats and voting rights groups hope to drive new voters to the polls as the fate of the Senate is at stake.
Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock are hoping to unseat Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. Ossoff and Warnock have intensified their campaigning in the weeks leading up to the runoff and have received the support of the Democratic Party. Heavyweights, such as Julian Castro, have joined the two as they rally supporters.
Republicans will need to win just one seat to secure their control of the Senate. The GOP controls 50 seats in the Senate, while Democrats have just 46 seats and Independents hold two seats. If Ossoff and Warnock win, the Senate will be evenly split between the two parties –– Independents tend to vote with Democrats –– and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will serve as the tie-breaking vote.
Voting Groups Target Georgia’s Gen Z, Native American Potential Voters
Democrats will need the same enthusiasm by voters in the upcoming runoff if they have any hopes of winning the Senate. Voting rights groups hope that young voters, as well as Native American and Asian American voters, turnout on January 5.
Young voters in Georgia have a special opportunity to have their voices heard in the runoff. Gen Z Georgians who turn 18 by January 5 can register and cast their very first ballots.
Nonpartisan voting groups Voter Participation Center and Center for Voter Information partnered with the Georgia NAACP to increase turnout among unregistered Gen Z voters. Tom Lopach, the CEO of the first two organizations, told The Augusta Chronicle that they sent mail to about 65,000 unregistered voters who turn 18 between Jan. 1 and Jan. 5.
An estimated 2.4 million eligible Georgia voters are not registered, with 73 percent in underrepresented categories, Lopach told the newspaper. These include Black and Brown voters, young people and unmarried women.
Voter turnout attention also turned to Native Americans in Georgia who are eligible to vote. Only a few of Georgia’s voting-age Native Americans cast their ballots in November, according to The New York Times. Although they are not recognized by the federal government, nearly 150,000 Native Americans live in the Peach State.
Advocates in the state are working to boost Native American turnout after seeing the historic turnouts in other states. Arizona flipped blue in the presidential election for the first time in 24 years after a remarkable turnout by Native American voters. According to The New York Times, President-elect Joe Biden received more than 80 percent of the roughly 55,000 votes cast in the Arizona area of the Navajo Nation and Hopi Reservation.
On Dec. 7, the Lakota People’s Law Project announced on Twitter that it was mobilizing its Native-to-Native phonebank to contact Indigenous voters in Georgia for the Senate runoffs. Meanwhile, Native voting rights group Four Directions has been knocking on doors in Atlanta and tribal leaders are working to identify members who live away from the tribes’ main communities, The New York Times reported.
TODAY: Last day to register to vote for the January 5 runoff election.
December 14: Early voting for runoff election.
January 5, 2021: Runoff election for two U.S. Senate seats.
Register: Georgia voters can check their voter registration, register to vote or make changes to their current registration record here. Gen Z voters who will be 18 on January 5, 2021, can also register to vote. To register, voters need to provide their driver’s license, state ID card number or the last four digits of their Social Security number, address and birthday. Today is the last day to register to vote.
Volunteer and Donate: A number of amazing voting rights organizations are doing crucial work to register voters and get them to the polls on January 5. Check out the volunteering and donation opportunities for New Georgia Project, Rideshare2Vote, The Georgia Muslim Voter Project and Fair Fight.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a senior writer for The North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.