Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D) is confident she will secure the governor’s mansion Tuesday despite the impact of what her One Georgia campaign team called incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp’s “voter suppression regime.”
In a press call Monday, campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo said Abrams is in a stronger position now than she was at the same time when she ran in 2018. Still, the campaign is preparing for all potential election outcomes.
“We have a path to victory mathematically to pull off an outright win, to get a runoff or to be too close to call,” said Groh-Wargo.
She added that despite polls indicating the state is “ridiculously Republican,” Abrams has made “significant improvements with independent voters, moderate voters, conservative voters, liberal voters, Black voters, white voters [and] women voters.”
According to One Georgia’s data, strong Democratic enthusiasm has seen an increase in minority voter turnout across the board.
Compared to 2018, the campaign reports there has been an 18 percent increase in early in-person voter turnout statewide. Among that, Black voter turnout is up about 16 percent, Latino voter turnout increased 31 percent and Asian American Pacific Islander turnout is up more than 45 percent.
These numbers follow record turnout in 2018, when Abrams’s campaign motivated communities of color to cast their ballots, though she did lose that election.
The campaign is confident that this record-breaking early voter turnout will lead to even more turnout on Tuesday, but they remain concerned by the number of rejected ballots under SB 202.
The Election Integrity Act of 2021 enacted changes to mail-in absentee ballots, changes to in-person early voting and even changes to ballot counting. According to the campaign, the impact of SB 202 has been a significant increase in rejected ballots.
Two days before Election Day 2020, 641 ballots were rejected; this year, 1,658 have been rejected. Meanwhile, two days before 2020’s election, more than 1.2 million ballots had been accepted. This year, only 216,730 have been accepted. In total, this year’s number of rejected or challenged ballots is nearly 2 percent, compared to 0.27 percent in 2020.
These numbers come out just as several civil rights organizations filed a lawsuit on Sunday urging an extension of the absentee ballot deadline for more than 1,000 voters near Atlanta after local election officials failed to send them their requested ballots.
“We are leveraging every asset of our organization to turn the vote out tomorrow,” Groh-Wargo said. “It’s critically important folks turn out tomorrow. … There is no lack of enthusiasm, there’s a lot of energy around voting and we expect to see very big turnout tomorrow.”
Georgia’s elections, both for governor and Senate, have been highly watched this year. While polls in the Senate race between incumbent Raphael Warnock (D) and Hershel Walker (R) have the two candidates nearly tied, Abrams continues to trail Kemp in the polls.