Georgia primary day, 2022

I worked the polls on Georgia’s Primary day. In our area, the Latino vote did not show up as they did in 2020.  Our precinct area in Gwinnett County is very diverse, with many recent immigrants, mostly Spanish speaking, from every part of Latin America. We also have Afghans, Asians, and Africans.

This primary, the voters were almost uniformly white and black, with only handfuls of Latinos. Turnout was easily down 100% or more. November 2020 was a kaleidoscope of languages, with constant Spanish translation, and many older immigrant first time voters.

The contrast is evidence of the voter turnout machine. In November 2020, groups of people entering, quite a number without documents (no ID, no vote!), volunteer translators with sashes standing by ready to assist. A man wheeled in a wheelchair-bound drunken voter, who was doing that all day around the area. In contrast, this primary election the wait was 0 minutes all day. Three eager young Latina ‘Election Defenders’, showed up to ‘protect the vote’ then left for an early brunch as they saw the crowds of voters were not coming. 

I can wonder why there was such a contrast in voter turnout from the previous election compared to this one. Perhaps, the Latino vote in this area came out to vote due to Trump -- and have more positive or neutral feelings about Governor Brian Kemp. Perhaps, there is Biden fatigue. Perhaps a massive get out the vote effort is needed to bring out the immigrant vote for the Democrat side -- many of the Latinos that came were voting Republican.

Some 1,143,000 votes were cast for the Republican Senate primary, and over 724,000 votes in the Democratic Senate primary. The difference between the two is substantial and comforting.

Also comforting is the smoothness of the day’s count. Absentee ballots are counted the morning of Election Day, and all absentee ballots must arrive at the election office by 7 p.m. Election Day. The drop boxes that had played a prominent ballot harvest role at 3 a.m. in 2000 Mules had been moved inside Advance Voting locations, and were not open on Election Day. Every voter that came in had their ID ready -- the ID was scanned and matched to the Voter’s Registration. Every voter’s ballot was printed out, dropped in and electronically scanned into the ballot box. At the end of the day, the ballots were counted, compared with the scanned totals, and the memory card and paper ballots together taken to the county elections office. All in all, the rapid processing of the election count provides confidence that there will be much fewer shenanigans this election compared to 2020.  

Image: Tom Arthur

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