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Georgia on Our Mind

OST’s Lynn Youngbar has been thinking about Georgia, given the Peach State’s recent flip blue and the fact that the fate of the Senate hangs on the outcome of its two imminent runoff races. Here’s what she’s come to: “It’s sure tempting to send money to Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, the two democratic Senate candidates. But the money has been pouring in so fast and furiously that the campaigns are struggling with how to use their funds effectively. So I decided to look at what is needed long-term in order to get more progressive folks to vote in purple states like Georgia and in red states, too. “I believe building capacity with local, grassroots organizations whose mission is to register and educate voters has the most promise. Some groups go a step further and teach civic education, reframing progressive issues in a nonpartisan way. If these organizations were strengthened and well-staffed between elections, we might be able to overcome persistent voter suppression. “While it will take years to change the trajectory, we must start now, with the upcoming senatorial election. Here’s the timeline:

  • ​November 18, 2020: absentee ballots will begin to be mailed out to voters who request one

  • December 7, 2020: voter registration deadline

  • December 14, 2020: early voting begins

  • January 5, 2021: Election Day

“I found several promising local organizations working on voter enfranchisement in Georgia, all of which will continue their work beyond the January Senate election. As my research is far from comprehensive, I encourage any of you so inclined to continue the research and share with us what you find. Here’s what I came up with:

  • ​Fair Fight – Founded by Stacy Abrams, many people support Fair Fight because of Stacy’s brilliance on voter issues. The group is working on getting Warnock and Ossoff elected while fighting voter suppression through mobilizing voters and legal action. They are running a texting effort for GOTV.

  • New Georgia Project - Founded by Stacy Abrams, the CEO of this impressive organization is Nse Ufot. It is a nonpartisan effort to register and civically engage Georgians, particularly people of color and young people. The New Georgia Projects also takes on voting obstacles, like precinct closures and attempts to reduce the time period for early voting. Their strategy is on meeting people where they are, including faith-based institutions, college campuses, and neighborhoods. They have a texting program focused on young voters to GOTV.

  • Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda - Helen Butler is the executive director of this interesting black-founded and -led organization. In addition to voting empowerment, their mission includes education, criminal justice, and environmental justice reform. Though their website is incomplete, they are worthy of our interest.

  • NAACP Georgia is partnering with Lyft to get voters to the polls.

  • The Voter Participation Center effort in Georgia is using site-based (as in tables in front of grocery stores), on-the-ground volunteers to get people to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot and register to vote until the December 7 cut-off.”

Other Ways to Help in the Georgia Runoff

There are other ways you can support the two Senate runoff races in Georgia. If you like to write postcards, here are three opportunities: Flip the West; Postcards to Swing States; Reclaim Our Vote For anyone who wants to make phone calls, we recommend the Flip the West phone bank.

Worthy Reads

Oregon Public Broadcasting recently aired an interview with a University of Oregon professor of the history of fascism who joined a national coalition of scholars in signing an open letter warning of the threat to US democracy. To learn more and listen, click this link. Read Jen Hofmann of the Americans of Conscience Checklist in her post-election message here.

Activist Reading Group

The next meeting of the OST Activist Reading Group will be held on Thursday, December 10, from 7:00-8:30pm. As there is no set agenda for the meeting, participants are invited to propose topics and relevant articles to discuss. If you would like to join the group, contact Ken Rosenberg at rosenbergkd@yahoo.com.

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