Stacey Abrams: Voting, Civic Education and the Future of U.S. Politics [VIDEO]

At PowerPAC+’s Race Will Win the Race Conference, Georgia House Minority Leader, Stacey Abrams shared that Georgia’s changing demographics can flip the switch on Southern politics - if the Democratic Party learns to show up for voters of color when it matters most. Watch the video to hear Stacey’s thoughts on investing in civic empowerment for all communities. Read more about why we endorse Stacey here.

This video is part of the series, Replay: Race Will Win the Race

The winning demographics in Georgia

"I want to frame this in a specific way. Georgia has 31% African American population, 9% Latino, 3.5% Asian American. So [people of color] are 43.5% of the population but in terms of voting  strength, African Americans vote about 30% of the electorate. The Latino population votes at about 1.5% and the Asian American population votes at 1.3%. So we underperform every single election. If we were to harness the existing voting strength, we would win every single state wide seat every single time."

The importance of voter registration

"You can solve the registration issue. We have 800,000 unregistered African American, Latino and Asian voters. In the last decade between 2000 and 2010, 1.5 million people moved into Georgia, the vast majority of which were people of color. 1.5 million. We have 833,000 unregistered African American, Latino and Asian voters. In a midterm election, we have a drop off from the presidential year of more than 600,000 voters. 600,000 people who just stay home."

"That’s our fault. And it is our fault because we, and by us I mean everybody in this room including me, we have great conversations about registration, we have conversations about turn out. What we do not talk about is about what we’re supposed to do the day after. And what happens is, when the world doesn’t change because we don’t have enough Mark Takanos in Congress, when the world doesn’t change because we don’t have good governors, when the world doesn’t change,  they don’t come back. So they don’t vote in that next off-year election."

Mission Possible

"The mission I have as Minority Leader is two-fold. One, is to take back the house. I believe it can be done, I know it can be done. Unfortunately Steve [Phillips] has seen a thirty page deck that I put together explaining step-by-step who we’re going to go after and how we’re going to do it. But it can be done, we can change Georgia and we can take the house. But we also have to take the Governor’s Mansion, we have to take the U.S. Senate."

"We have to demonstrate that their is some connectivity between the people elected and the work that gets done."

Three Opportunities in Georgia

"I’ll wrap this up by saying, I think that there are three opportunities that we have. The first and foremost is voter registration. There is a project that I’m part of in Georgia called The New Georgia Project. Our aim is to register at least 100,000, 120,000 voters this year. That can change an election in Georgia. We want to get these voters registered, but the next part of that is we have to get those voters educated."

"Civic education is not a part of our conversation in America anymore. And so people don’t actually know what they’re voting for. As part of The New Georgia Project, we did some deep research to understand why if you’re an African American man who didn’t vote for Barack Obama in 2008, 2012 - why not? The answers were: one, they were afraid of voting, they don’t understand it. All they hear about is voter intimidation and they think that means you shouldn’t vote. Or if you’re Latino, you’re afraid that by showing your ID if you’re in a voter ID state, than what that’s going to mean is that you can possibly harm you’re family, so you don’t bother. So we have to begin by making sure people understand how to vote."

"Second, we have to connect the dots for the issues that they’re voting for. Let them know, if you vote for a state senator this is what that senator does; if you vote for a congressman this is what that congressperson does. And if you’re voting for the U.S Senate, this is what it means if you want our president to be successful. The third thing is that we have to do this everyday. This is not an election-year issue. 2014 is critical, but 2015 is also really important and 2016, 2017, 2018 because my focus is on 2021. I know Representative Fudge said we can’t look past 2014; I’m focusing here, but my eye is on 2021 because when we do redistricting in 2021, if we have not changed the electorate, especially in the South, we will have a majority-minority population that is governed by a minority white conservative coalition. And that’s the most dangerous precedent that we can possibly set for the South in the next 20 years."  


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