Mark Niesse reports that “Voter registration surges in Georgia ahead of 2020 elections” in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and notes that “More than 352,000 people signed up to vote in the past 11 months, the vast majority of them automatically registering when they obtain a driver’s license, according to data from the secretary of state’s office. The influx has boosted Georgia’s voter rolls to a record high of nearly 7.4 million.” Even better, for Democrats:
Many of the new voters are racial minorities or under age 30, both groups that are more likely to support Democrats than Republicans, according to a Pew Research Center poll.
About 47% of the new voters who identified their race are minorities and 45% are age 30 or younger, according to an analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of a list of voters registered from Nov. 6 to Aug. 12. By comparison, 40% of all Georgia voters are minorities and 14% are age 30 or younger. The voter list was obtained from the secretary of state’s office and provided to the AJC by Fair Fight PAC, a political action committee that supports Democratic parties nationwide.
Niesse adds that “Registrations at driver’s license offices far outpaced voter registration drives, indicating that many of the new voters recently moved to Georgia or turned 18 years old,” which may bode well for Georgia’s Democratic Party. Georgia will elect two U.S. Senators, and every seat in the General Assembly is up for election. Although Trump bat Clinton by percent in GA in 2016, Democratic candidate for Governor Stacy Abrams came within 1.4 percent (55,000 votes) of winning the governorship last year. Also,
“Rapid population growth and changing demographics in Georgia provide Democrats huge opportunities,” said Lauren Groh-Wargo, Abrams’ former campaign manager and a senior adviser for Fair Fight PAC. “Each eligible Georgian who moves to Georgia and becomes a voter is more likely to vote Democratic than Republican.”
Niesse notes further that “About 365,000 new voters have registered each year at Georgia’s driver’s license offices since the beginning of 2017, for a total of 989,000 new voters, according to the secretary of state’s office.” But not all of the registration increase arises from population growth, as Niesse explains:
Meanwhile, traditional voter registration efforts are reaching hundreds of thousands more potential voters…The Voter Participation Center, a voter registration group that targets unmarried women, people of color and young people, sent registration forms to more than 560,000 Georgians last month.
…Of Georgia’s newly registered voters since Election Day 2018, more than 31,000 of them mailed their registration forms to election officials, which reflects some of the impact of voter registration drives such as those run by the Voter Participation Center. The center said more than 5,500 forms were returned to the secretary of state’s office as a result of its efforts last year.
ProGeorgia, a group that coordinates registration outreach with more than a dozen organizations, said it’s on track to register 21,000 new voters this year.
“Georgia’s population as a whole is aging,” Niesse notes, “but most older residents are already registered to vote, and new residents are more likely to be young or minorities.” All of which is good news for Georgia Democrats.
However, Georgia Democrats have had their high hopes dashed in recent statewide races, and the GA Republican Party has proven ruthless in suppressing voter turnout. Yet, Trump won Georgia’s 2016 electoral votes by a margin of less than 212,000 votes. With two U.S. Senate seats at stake and good prospects for Dems picking up a House of Representatives seat, turnout is likely to be higher than usual. Some additional resources for Georgia from the national Democratic Party and it’s contributors could prove to be a cost-effective investment.