Georgia Black voters took to the polls in droves for early voting in anticipation of the last midterm race for the Senate. Democrats could win a 51-49 advantage over Republicans if incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock(left) wins against Herschel Walker (right) .

By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,
Report For America Corps Member,

Georgia residents went to the polls in large numbers in advance of a Dec. 6 special election day. 

According to data hub information, compiled and released by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Black voters comprised 31.9 percent of early voters.

Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker and Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock will go head to head once more to see who will represent Georgia in the U.S. Senate. 

In a nationwide election Nov. 8 Republicans won a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives while  Democrats won a narrow majority in the Senate. 

In the election marking the midterm of the Biden administration, Republican candidates fell short of an expected “red wave,” and Democrats remain in high hopes for a larger lead in this last Senate race. 

The race for a senator for Georgia required  a runoff because neither Walker nor Warnock drew a majority  vote on Election Day results. According to the Georgia state data hub for the runoff election, nearly two million votes have been cast in early voting since Nov. 28.

“Civic engagement is at an all-time high,” Taifa Smith Butler, president of DEMOS, a political think tank, told the AFRO. “People closer to the pain are inching closer to the power, which is a motivating factor for many Black voters.”

Butler believes rights are at stake, another crucial motivator for Black voters.

“Voters are rejecting extremism,” said Butler. “Georgia is an example of Black voters wanting to be seen and heard 24 hours a day, not just in an election cycle.”

In the wake of widespread –but unsubstantiated– claims about voter fraud, Georgia lawmakers enacted a suppressing law, SB202, that attacks absentee voting, criminalizes giving water to voters and permits the state to take over county elections, according to the American Civil Liberties Union officials in Georgia. 

“There has been an extra effort to mobilize black voters because turnout dipped from 2018 to 2022,” said Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University. “This election, I see efforts by both candidates to reach out to voters reminding them to vote.”

Gillespie said, “Warnock and Walker represent two distinct views, so people’s preferences are straightforward. Distinct views and depicted close elections drive up turnout just as mobilization does.”

President Biden joined the Democratic party  efforts to mobilize voters ahead of the runoff.

“I’m here because we must re-elect a decent, honorable man,” said Biden at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee gathering on Dec. 3. “We need Raphael Warnock because we don’t want every measure hanging on a thread of one vote, especially as we no longer control the House by just a handful of votes.”

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