History has its eyes on Georgia

“I know that we can win. I know greatness lies in you … history has its eyes on you.” 
© Lin-Manuel Miranda

By Andrea Young, ACLU of Georgia Executive Director

The ACLU of Georgia’s work has built over the past four years to this moment, as we see the hard work of our staff, members, and volunteers to protect the sacred right to vote across Georgia come to fruition.

In late 2017, we sued successfully to reinstate 160,000 who had been wrongly purged from the voter rolls.  Our work to oppose an array of voter suppression tactics continued as we gained momentum, and by November 2018, we had defeated attempts to limit early voting;  protected all the polling locations in rural Randolph County and won a lawsuit requiring Georgia to provide an opportunity to cure rejected mail in ballots. 

By 2019, we expanded the law on early voting locations to include private buildings (such as State Farm Arena), began to  expand- Peanut Gallery to monitor local election boards and build a Voter Access Project to ensure free and fair elections in 2020. Our continued legal actions and our deployment of over 1,000 volunteers to critical election day roles helped deliver a win for democracy on November 5th.

The next day, we were back to work on behalf of voters in the critical U.S. Senate runoff election, as we made democracy work in a pandemic.  Voting was easier, safer and more inclusive, as we 

  • deployed legal observers to polling locations, absentee ballot and vote counting locations in Chatham, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Dougherty, Fulton, Glynn, Gwinnett, Henry, Macon-Bibb, Muscogee, and Spalding Counties, 

  • responded to and stopped intimidation of volunteer canvassers by local law enforcement in Rockdale, Douglas and Clayton Counties, 

  • responded to “voter caging” efforts  that would impact 300,000 voters in all 159 counties –, using legal memos, follow-up calls and advocacy– with success in nearly all cases, and 

  • challenged and reversed poll closings in Cobb and Hall Counties. 

We partnered with the SouthWest Georgia Voters Project to:

  • Provide rides to the polls in rural Southwest Georgia- -Macon , Taylor , Talbot, and Crawford Counties. 

  • Conduct Neighbor to Neighbor phone banking by African American voters in 26 counties in Southwest Georgia.

 Finally, we 

  • Conducted phone-banking and texting to voters in Metro Atlanta all day — today and almost every day since Thanksgiving, and

  • Recruited and placed poll workers and deputy registrars  in Fulton County and poll workers for 17 other counties.

  • Ran digital and social media ads as well as radio ads to inform the public on how to vote by mail, early voting, and Election Day voting.

In the upcoming Georgia General Assembly session, we will continue to fight to expand access to the ballot and against voter suppression.

Thanks for all you have done to build the ACLU of Georgia to protect everyone’s sacred, fundamental right to vote, the cornerstone of our democracy. It’s with good reason that History has its eyes on us.