Our Communications and Policy Coordinator (left, with partners from Georgia Muslim Voter Project and Asian Americans Advancing Justice) reminds you why your vote matters this year, and every year.
Over the past two years, our civic engagement team, has worked to register thousands of new American voters, help educate voters and, most importantly, help new Americans become voters. In the past week, many of these new voters have come forward, feeling that their votes had little to no impact on a federal election result that could lead to negative changes for them or their families.
But your voices mattered. All voters, and especially new voters, had a huge impact on breaking records this election cycle. Let’s look at the local victories.
This year, 4,045,613 of Georgia’s 5,445,078 registered voters turned out for the 2016 election – a new record. This included record numbers of early voters, which information shows helps increase voter turnout among minority and first-time voters.
Early polls have shown that Latino voter turnout increased in Georgia and many states across the Southeast, again, largely thanks to early voting.
Consider the local victories for new Americans that impact the future for Georgia and our nation.
- In Gwinnett County, Sam Park became the state’s first every openly gay male elected to the State House, and only the second Asian-American man in the position.
- Earlier in the year, Gwinnett also elected Brenda Lopez to the State House, Georgia’s first Latina representative.
- In Minnesota, Ilhan Omar won election to the House of Representatives, becoming America’s first former-refugee and first Somali woman to hold the position.
- In Elk Mont, California, former refugee Steve Ly became the nation’s first Hmong mayor.
- In the Senate, the number of women of color quadrupled.
- In Arizona, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been known for profiling Hispanic residents, was defeated.
But we, as a country, can do better. While Georgia had record number of voters, voter turnout was down overall from 2012. Over 100 million eligible voters did not vote in this election.
It is critical we continue to work to encourage our fellow new Americans to register to vote as they become citizens, and – most importantly – to turn out for every election.
Local elections will be held in Georgia in 2017. In 2018, we’ll have a chance to vote for our Congressional leaders. Our next presidential election is only four years away. Every election matters. Every voice matters.
What you can do, now:
- Give: Georgia Gives Day is this Thursday, Nov. 17. Help us raise $15,000 to support our work to welcome refugees in Georgia.
- Volunteer: Our volunteers are the backbone of our work. Sign up for an upcoming volunteer orientation by contacting Mary Cash at email@example.com.
- Advocate: The best way to combat false information, is with correct information. Use our resources to build your knowledge. 2016 data will be available soon.
- Ask Questions: Our Communications and Policy Coordinator is here to help you answer your questions. Contact Stephanie Jackson Ali at firstname.lastname@example.org
- And, if you aren’t registered to vote, register online here.