Ufot first met Abrams at a New Years brunch in 2014, after returning to Georgia after stints in the energy industry and with a teachers’ union in Canada. She was impressed with Abrams’ mastery of statistics but skeptical that his voter transformation plan will work. Then, however, “she told me that there were over a million colored Georgians, mostly black Georgians, who were eligible to vote and who were not registered at all,” said declared Ufot. “And it made me sit down and stop eating my eggs.”
Days before we spoke, the Georgian Secretary of State’s office had again started investigating the New Georgia project for electoral law violations. Brad Raffensperger, the current Secretary of State, had opened a case concerning the organization and three other voter registration groups, which he accused of having violated the electoral law by “repeatedly and aggressively” soliciting voters ineligible, out of state and deceased. runoff. Speaking to reporters at the State Capitol, Raffensperger said his office had received several complaints about New Georgia’s campaign for supporters to write postcards to residents of the state to encourage them to register and vote. “Here’s something that came into our house yesterday,” he said, holding up three postcards from New Georgia. “It was my son Brenton J. Raffensperger who passed away two years ago.
Ufot insisted that his group simply sent postcards to volunteers who had expressed interest in sending letters to eligible Georgian voters encouraging them to vote. A packet of postcards were sent to the wrong address in New York, she said, and the mailings to Raffensperger’s deceased son were in error based on publicly available data. “We have regular contact with the Secretary of State and his investigators and their entire office,” she said. “No one contacted us, no one contacted our lawyers.”
Ufot also highlighted the political background: Raffensperger, a Republican, was locked in a public row with President Trump, who continued to make false allegations of major electoral fraud in Georgia and retweeted calls for the imprisonment of Raffensperger and Kemp. Loeffler and Perdue have teamed up to call on Raffensperger to step down and to declare the management of the elections “a disgrace to our state”. Raffensperger argued Republicans lost the fair and square ballot. “They have been overwhelmed,” he later said in an online forum hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center. Raffensperger was being bullied by members of his own political party, Ufot said, “but what you cannot do is intimidate our civil rights organizations and our voting rights organizations to restore your republican good faith. (Kemp’s office did not respond to requests for comment.)
In the meantime, a wave of lawsuits have descended on the pre-election race, which has focused, again, on who is eligible to vote. A judge dismissed a complaint from several voter advocacy groups, including Black Voters Matter, asking Georgia to reinstate nearly 200,000 voters purged from the lists because of address changes. Three trials at the federal and state levels by Republican-led groups, one of which was joined by Perdue and Loeffler, pushed to restrict absentee voting. Two were made redundant; the third action aims to limit the use of ballot boxes during opening hours. [Dec. 29, 2020: The third of the suits was settled after the print version of this article went to press.]
Ufot had set a goal of registering 10,000 voters by the December 7 registration deadline and turned to the army of volunteers it had assembled, 4,500 of whom had worked during the general elections, to achieve this. There have been food and toy drives in College Park and Columbus, literature drops and door-to-door sales in Athens, a bike rally in Atlanta. By the deadline, they had managed approximately 7,000 registrations.
Historically, the second rounds have favored Republican candidates. The wave that brought Biden to power, translated into real numbers, was only about 12,000 votes, an amount a runoff could easily waste. Still, Ufot is hoping for a high turnout. About a third of early and absent voters whose races were known were black, compared to 27% in the general election. This number is slightly higher than the number of blacks who voted at the start of the general election. According to Georgiavotes, a voting data website, older voters who lean towards the Tories made up about 37% of voters in the first second round. Between Oct. 5, the general election registration deadline, and the Dec. 5 deadline for the second round, nearly 76,000 new voters registered, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.