Before, during and after the Nov. 8 midterm election in Georgia, Capital B Atlanta has been speaking with Black voters to share their stories. From the campaign trail to local events, “What Black Voters Are Saying” wants to document the issues most important to you. Want to share your story? Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org
Early voting is coming to a close, but Georgia voters still have a lot on their minds ahead of runoff Election Day on Dec. 6.
So far, over 1 million voters have cast in-person ballots in the matchup between Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican nominee Herschel Walker. For context, 233,252 voters cast ballots by the time early voting ended in Warnock’s 2018 runoff showdown with then-incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
According to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, civic processes statewide have been operating smoothly despite the massive turnout.
“While some counties are seeing more voter turnout than they anticipated, most have found a way to manage voter wait-times, and I appreciate the election officials and workers across Georgia who are doing their level-best to accommodate our record turnout,” Raffensperger said in a statement.
After stopping in DeKalb County earlier this week, Capital B Atlanta visited precincts in Clayton and Fulton counties on the last days of early voting to speak with residents. The very candid conversations ranged from voter fatigue, historical implications of voting, and frustrations with having to vote again.
Here’s what Black early voters from Forest Park to Adamsville are saying.
Bea Thompkins, 65, retired, Adamsville
“It makes me feel so good to know so many people have already come and voted before Election Day, because I feel like you can tell the interest in an election by the early voting numbers. If people are showing up, that means this race means something to them, and that’s what we need.”
Michelle Lyons, 60, retired, Cascade Heights
“My thing is that [Herschel] Walker is just a flat-out liar. He’s been caught up so many times in lies, and my question to Republicans is, ‘Are you all really that desperate for a seat that you would let someone like Herschel Walker represent your centuries-old party?’ Is that what our state politics has come to?”
“They bombarded us with all this slander and hate on these commercials and ads throughout the whole election, and now we are here voting again because half the people in this state who voted the first time actually believed in Herschel [Walker]. If that isn’t crazy, I don’t know what is.”
Jasmine Simmons, 27, lash stylist, Forest Park
“I feel like I’m always voting. I have voted so many times, I lost count! It can be very tiring to have to keep coming out, but I feel like my ancestors died for my right to do this, so I always participate. We’ve seen too many times how it can come down to the wire in these elections, so I will always do my part.”
Tamika Murray, 48, telecommunication specialist, Morrow
“This election is about us. We can’t let Herschel Walker be the representation of what Black men in Georgia are on the national stage. He beats women, lies about the amount of kids he has, lies about his employment and educational background. Why would anyone want a U.S. senator like that?”
Marquez Dent, 32, barber, Morrow
“I wasn’t always into politics, but since COVID, I’ve been more into trying to learn how the political system works, which is why I’m exercising my right to vote today. I didn’t always vote, but I understand the power we hold, as Black people, and how the Republican Party is trying to capitalize that by putting a Black man as their candidate of choice. But, the reality is, he is just a puppet being used.”
Larry Brown, 72, retired, College Park
“I’m 72 years old, but I’m still out here voting. There was a line when I first got here, but I still waited, and I’m still smiling because I am alive and well. You hear people complaining, always in a rush and wanting the easy way out. It only takes a little time out of your day to do your part. What is the excuse?”
Benita Thomas, 68, retired, College Park
“I’m voting because we can’t let Herschel Walker win. The things he has said and did to women … we need to stop supporting men who are abusive to women, period. It seems like in our society, we reward men who are womanizers rather than casting them out. If [Herschel] Walker is elected, it would be a slap in the face to every woman who came out and voted against him.”