A recent Georgia poll shows Donald Trump deadlocked within the margin of error with Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. The last Democrat to carry Georgia was Bill Clinton in 1992. Republicans have had a tight hold on the state since 90’s, but as the state’s demographics continue to change, so will our politics.
The state of Georgia is well on its way to becoming a majority-minority state by 2025, with people of color becoming the majority of eligible voters by 2036. This is not to say that all people of color vote Democrat; however, the Democratic Party is 38 percent minority compared to just ten percent in the Republican Party. And in 2016, with a polarizing GOP candidate like Trump, Georgia could potentially be a battleground state. But Republicans will continue to fight against the changing tides.
The 2014 midterm election was meant to be a new start for Georgia. There were increases in outreach and voter registration among Democrats, but the efforts did not amount to any major, immediate victories. Republicans, on the other hand, had a great turnout and managed to keep Georgia red. Reasons for the Democratic failure can also be attributed to the repeal of the Voting Right Act in 2013.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 underwent a huge overhaul in 2013 when the Supreme Court repealed the preclearance statute, which reduces discrimination at the polls. Without this statute in place, the state officials in power find it easier to disenfranchise minority voters. Georgia was one of the early states to adopt harmful, unnecessarily strict voter ID laws in 2010, which are meant to cut down on the statistically insignificant voter fraud that only exists in the Fox News fantasy world. The state is also guilty of closing voting precincts in black neighborhoods — despite an increase in the number of voters — and purging more black voters from the rolls. And that’s just within the past three years.
The preclearance statute of the Voting Rights Act is essential. It keeps state officials accountable and ensures that everyone, regardless of skin color, gets a chance to have their voice heard. The sacred right to vote has been hard-fought by many before us. Unfortunately, it seems as though the fight is far from over.