In May, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger reported a record turnout in Georgia’s 2022 primary races: a 212 percent jump over the 2020 presidential primary race, and a 168 increase from 2018’s gubernatorial race. He claimed that the 2021 Election Integrity Act, which requires a photo ID for absentee voting and shortens the voting window, hadn’t actually hampered voter turnout as vocal critics predicted, like when President Joe Biden said the new requirements were “un-American.”
Yet, as the Brennan Center for Justice reported, even as Georgia saw a high voter turnout, the state also saw its biggest turnout gap between Black and white voters in at least a decade. Moreover, former president Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud persist in the state, as conservative residents have challenged the status of tens of thousands of voters across the state.
Such high stakes are why Canopy Atlanta wanted to hear more from communities across the five-county metro, ahead of Georgia’s midterm elections this November 8. With support from the American Press Institute’s Election Coverage and Community Listening Fund, we surveyed more than 60 Metro Atlantans about their voting patterns and which issues concern them most. We take a closer look at low-voter-turnout precincts to better understand what may prevent residents from showing up to the polls.
Plus, Atlanta Documenters—residents who are trained and paid to cover public meetings—dive deep into election board meetings around the five-county metro area to explore why voting in Georgia is still hotly contested. Our hope is to better understand why Metro Atlantans in this battleground state vote—or don’t.
“Our hope is to better understand why Metro Atlantans in this battleground state vote—or don’t.”
First Person is an interview series that features community members with unique stories to tell. Ahead of Georgia’s midterm elections on November 8, we spoke with three metro Atlanta residents who live or work near low-voter-turnout precincts in Clayton, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties.
Residents don’t often see or read about the important decisions that elected officials make at public meetings. But with this fall’s launch of Atlanta Documenters, your neighbors in Metro Atlanta have already witnessed and recorded how recent election board meetings can bear large consequences.