Black Americans, motivated by the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, the coronavirus pandemic, and largely, President Trump‘s entire first term, have been voting in record numbers.
Many Black Americans have sat and stood outside of polling locations for hours to vote in-person due to doubts about mail-in and absentee ballots.
According to Catalist, a data company that provides analytics to Democrats, academics, and political organizations, more than 601,000 Black Americans have voted in Georgia. In Maryland, more than 190,000 Black Americans have voted and in California, more than 303,145 Black Americans have voted. In 2016, voting totals in all three states at this time were significantly lower.
President Trump continues to claim that he’s done more for Black Americans than any president since Abraham Lincoln, however, his four years in office have been particularly distressing.
Between the Charlottesville incident in 2017, Trump getting former NFL QB Colin Kaepernick blackballed from the league for his anthem protest, and his shocking inability to condemn White supremacy, Trump has largely fought against Black Americans. Trump also has repeatedly attempted to tear down everything former President Barack Obama has done including the Affordable Care Act, which is still in danger due to Trump’s newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Many Black Americans believe this election is the most important in the country’s history and their last chance to save it.
Additionally, many Black Americans still remember what happened to Stacey Abrams in 2018. Abrams, the Democratic candidate for the governor of Georgia, lost by less than 60,000 votes amid widespread voter suppression by then-State Secretary Brian Kemp who ran against Abrams.
Politico reports since Oct. 12, the first day of early voting in the state, a staggering 2.7 million voters have voted, a nearly 110% increase from 2016. Democrats in the state are also organizing caravans, volunteering as election workers, and serving as poll watchers.
“You can’t sit and complain. You’ve got to do something to help and assist. And that’s what I did,” Aurelia Gray, a lifelong Georgia voter told Politico. “I just made up my mind to do something,”
Gray added she signed up to be an election volunteer after she waited four hours to vote in the state’s June primary. So many people signed up to help at Gray’s polling site, she was moved to a different location.