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The numbers are coming in, and they’re breaking records. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images
The numbers are coming in, and they’re breaking records. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

This is what boots on the ground really looks like in Georgia

All eyes fall on Georgia on Election day, as dozens of voter advocacy groups work nonstop before polls open.

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Thanks to the years-long efforts of grassroots Latino organizations, early voting has shattered records ahead of the Jan. 5, Georgia Senate runoff. 

These votes could prove to be a determining factor in the balance of power in the Senate and the country, which will be decided in the ensuing ballot count.

More than 75,000 new voters have registered ahead of the election, and what’s most compelling is that over half of them are voters under the age of 35, according to data by the largest Latino-focused voter advocacy group, Voto Latino. 

About 23,000 of these new voters were not old enough to vote in November, but qualified to vote in the runoffs, according to The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, or CIRCLE

Since early voting began in mid-December, over 3 million people have cast their ballots, which, according to GeorgiaVotes.com, over 360,000 of these early voters were between the ages of 18 and 29. 

Young voters are surging to the polls in greater numbers, but due to the targeted voter advocacy towards BIPOC demographics, those numbers are on the rise as well.

As of Monday, nearly 80,000 Latinos had voted early in the runoffs, reported NBC, with experts expecting the highest turnout for Latinos ever in a runoff election. 

But numbers have still dropped from the general election, even though voting for the Senate is just as important — if not more — as voting for the next president. 

The drop-off for Latinos Monday sat at 35% from the general. 

The number is higher than the percentage of Black, white, and Asian demographics. 

Black communities have done the best, with just a 15% drop in early voting turnout compared to the general, Bernard Fraga, an associate professor of politics at Emory University told NBC.

Like in November, January turnout is still heavily-influenced by the widespread ripples left by political leader Stacey Abrams, and her continued work to mobilize Black and Latino voters ahead of the Senate Runoff.

Her ‘boots on the ground’ approach is what we’re seeing widespread in Georgia, even on the morning of this pivotal election. 

As early voting in Georgia progressed, the fight for the state turned into a beacon attracting multiple grassroots and nationwide voter advocacy organizations to the state, which is now the political epicenter of the nation. 

National groups like Mi Familia Vota, Mijente, Voto Latino, Poder Latinx, and numerous others have been in Georgia for weeks, fighting to increase the turnout in the state among BIPOC voters, with many primarily focused on Latinos with the belief that they have a significant role to play. 

Numerous groups, celebrities, politicians and political activists focused on Latino voters have converged on Georgia after it became clear that the runoffs will determine which party controls the Senate.

The numbers speak for themselves.

Mijente is just one example of this. The political action hub for Latinx and Chicanx organizing announced the feat of contacting every Latino voter in Georgia across 159 counties, for the first time in the state’s history. 
This was accomplished through hundreds and thousands of door knocks, calls, and texts, in one of the largest Latino turnout operations in Georgia’s history — tackled in just eight weeks. 

The Latino Community Fund in Georgia also announced its latest numbers before the election, saying it surpassed its campaign goals. 

According to the CEO of Mi Familia Vota, Hector Sanchez Barba, the joint-effort achieved 1.4 million voter contact attempts. 

If incumbent Georgia Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler hold their seats, the GOP will maintain control and therefore greater ability to block agendas and proposals from the Democratic-controlled House.

But challengers Rev. Warnock and Ossoff may have an edge with these mobilizing forces in support, who understand the deeply-nuanced diversity within the demographic, and evidently, how to reach them. 

Warnock and Ossoff themselves have plans for immigration policy and COVID-19 relief at the forefront of their appeal to Latino voters, two of the demographic’s most pressing issues in Georgia. 

Today has begun with optimism brought by the early voting data, but the coming days will provide the final clarity on whether Latino voters will tip the scale in a historic fashion.

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