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Black Early Voters in DeKalb Focused on Medicaid, Gun Control, and Education

We stopped by precincts in DeKalb County to learn what is motivating locals who cast their ballots ahead of Election Day.

More than 1 million Georgians have already cast their vote prior to Election Day, according to the Georgia secretary of state’s office. (Ben Gray/Associated Press)

Before, during, and after the Nov. 8 midterm election in Georgia, Capital B Atlanta will be speaking with Black voters to hear your thoughts and share your 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 up politics reporter Chauncey Alcorn at

Early voting has kicked off here in metro Atlanta, and voters statewide are showing up in historic numbers to cast their ballot in the November midterm election.

With high-stakes races like the gubernatorial rematch between Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams and incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and the U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker at hand, the Georgia secretary of state’s office reported that more than 1 million Georgians have already cast their vote ahead of Election Day, set for Nov. 8. 

Capital B Atlanta visited a few early-voting locations in DeKalb County to talk to Black voters about what motivated them to cast their ballots this election season.

As we talked to voters, we found that Black residents have concerns — ranging from Medicaid coverage to public school education — that they are hoping to be heard this midterm.

Here’s what they had to say.

Lexi, educator, Stone Mountain

“I’m here today to make sure my voice is heard, and that’s by voting for Stacey Abrams and Rev. Raphael Warnock. We need candidates who understand the people and what life is like for us out here. I believe both of those candidates have done more than enough to show us that when they are elected, they won’t leave us behind.”

John Ganton, 89, retired, Stonecrest

“I worked in the public education system for over 30 years, and Black children, Black schools, are still facing the same issues that we faced when I was first starting out. I have kids and grandchildren who went on to become teachers, and I’m constantly hearing about the learning loss Black children experienced because of COVID-19. We need a governor who is going to recognize the issue and address it before it’s too late.”

Emma Dix, 72, retired, Decatur

“I’m worried about my Medicaid. My monthly cost went up $25. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but I’m on a fixed income, surviving off my Social Security and my retirement fund. What happens to me if it becomes unaffordable and I can’t afford my doctor’s appointments, or I can’t afford the medical care that I need if I have an accident?”

Casey, 19, Lithonia, college student

“It’s always talked about how young people aren’t interested in voting, but I think that’s far from the truth. I came out to vote today because I have concerns about my future and what life I will be able to live. The cost of living today is something that will affect my life tomorrow and the day after that. So I know more people my age will come out to vote just off the strength of that alone.”

Ann Johnson, 54, bank teller, Decatur

“My biggest motivation is gun control. By removing the need for a concealed carry weapons license, our current governor unleashed a plague on the Black community, and I need us to wake up and recognize that. It seems all great until we start seeing the consequences that will mean the death of our young Black sons, brothers, fathers, uncles, and so much more. It was strategic as a means to further put us, Black people, down and weaponize those who see us as a threat.”

Damon Rogers, 55, project management, Avondale Estates

“I’m voting because they silenced us in 2016, 2018, and in 2020. These last six years have been the most polarizing time for the Black community as they continue to strip our rights in national and state politics. I’m able and I am healthy, and as long as I am those two things, I will continue to cast my vote so my voice can be heard.”

Aethna Lewis, 68, retired, Decatur

“I vote because I’m tired. I’m tired of being less than and watching them roll back on all our civil rights as Black people in this country. We need politicians who not only look like us, but politicians who are for us — ones who cannot be bought and sold at auction.”