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2022 Midterms

We’re Talking to Black Voters at the Polls. Here’s What They’re Telling Us.

Residents open up about key races and issues, and overcoming voting challenges to make their voices heard.

Voters leave the Park Tavern polling location after casting their ballots in the Georgia primary election on May 24. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

This story has been updated.

It’s no secret the Black vote will have huge implications for the 2022 election cycle in Georgia. Despite new election laws that create more challenges for casting ballots, early voting numbers so far have show Black turnout has been triple what it was in 2018. 

On this Primary Day, we hit the streets to talk to Black residents about any voting issues they’re having and key races they’re following. From the governor’s battle to transportation issues, from seniors to recent college grads, we’re learning what brought folks out to the polls. We’ll update this article with responses as we get them. Here’s what we’ve learned so far.

Dawn Pugh, 60, retired, West End

“All the issues being voted on today are important to me. I’ve been in Atlanta my entire life but, over the past 15 [years], I’ve been here in the West End. I wanted to make sure I voted for a local official who cares about bringing commerce and steady income back into our economy here.” 

Danielle Carney, 45, self-employed, West End

“I always vote whenever we can — state and local. But, there was a lot on the ballot today — TSPLOST, bond issuances — that will affect our community directly. I wanted to make sure I came out for my neighborhood.”

Zola Stewart, 78, West End

“It’s important for me to vote because so many people died for us to have this right. I’ve been here my entire life and, even at my age, I still come out to vote for that reason. The most important race for me is the governor’s race, because right now, our access to Medicaid is being threatened.”

Michael Smith, 23, recent college graduate, College Park

“My first election was the 2020 presidential election, and I learned then how important it is to vote as much as possible. The biggest race for me is the governor’s race because we may potentially have the same battle we saw in 2018. If I can do my part to make sure we see a change, then I will every time.” 

Mary Dukes, 69, West End

“We need a governor who won’t forget about the people my age who rely on Medicaid for health insurance. I shouldn’t be almost 70 worried that the next time I go to the doctor, I’m going to get a bill I can’t afford.” 

Nicole Mayo-Corsey, 52, marketing, College Park

“I feel like there hasn’t been a big turnout today because we showed up in record numbers during the early voting period. But we’re still coming out today and that’s all that matters. I come to vote because it’s becoming dire for our people to be heard when we are so used to being suppressed.”

Nicole Corsey, 32, digital production, College Park (Mayo-Corsey’s daughter)

“I haven’t had any issues, but I know people were getting purged out the system. I voted because there are people who won’t be heard in this election and don’t even realize it’s becoming harder for Black residents to practice our civic rights.” 

Asia Jones, 28, food service, College Park

“I wanted to come out and vote today because I know Georgia is a game-changer for national politics. I’m also interested in our local elections here in College Park, and I want public officials who care about keeping our neighborhoods true to their culture.”

Cartashiea Hines, 35, social worker, Decatur

“I’m voting today because it’s my duty to participate but also because I want to. Black voters are the most important voters in this state right now and we have the power in our hands by casting one vote. Isn’t that amazing?”

Chauncey James, 45, self employed, Decatur

“I came here [Flat Shoals Library] to vote but they are telling me I’m at the wrong place. I live over by Oak Grove Elementary, but I didn’t see any precinct by my house. It seems like if you live in the county, you should be able to vote anywhere but this is apart of their campaign to make voting harder in an already hard economy.”