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Fair Fight Georgia Prepares For January Senate Runoff Elections

NOEL KING, HOST:

Voter turnout is one of the big stories of this year's election. In Georgia in 2016, around 4.1 million people voted. This year, it was around 5 million. Votes there are still being counted. Joe Biden is leading, but there's going to be a recount. And both Senate races in Georgia will go to a runoff in January.

Lauren Groh-Wargo is the CEO of Fair Fight Action. That's a group based in Georgia that advocates for voter rights and participation. She is backing the Democratic candidates running for those Senate seats, and she told me that flipping Georgia has been a goal for a long time.

LAUREN GROH-WARGO: This is not some flash in the pan. We have been building this for the better part of a decade. When Stacey Abrams became minority leader a decade ago after an undercount in the census and a Republican gerrymander, she made history by preventing and denying Republicans a supermajority in the state legislature by winning four seats drawn for Republicans. And that is really where Georgia state legislative Dems began building, building, building.

Along the way, there's been this whole proliferation and building of excellent Black and brown community groups working in the Asian American community, the Latino community. There's a larger demographic change happening in Georgia, and now we're going to leverage all of this infrastructure, knowhow, advocacy and voter contact to win these January runoffs. We feel really, really good, and we're going to make it happen.

KING: I did some coverage of voter registration efforts in the state of Wisconsin, and one thing that came through very clearly in the city of Milwaukee in particular was how many people felt that their vote didn't matter, particularly when it came to the Black community in that city. Is that something that you and your organization are up against in Georgia? Do you have people who tell you, I don't feel like it matters? Or do you think after 2020, it's going to be real hard to hear anyone say that anymore?

GROH-WARGO: I don't think there's any doubt. We have beat Donald Trump by 14,000. That shows that every vote does matter and that we have to continue our work. There are still hundreds of thousands of Georgians who chose not to vote, and we have to continue to do our work as an organization to reach out to voters and meet them where they are and listen to them.

KING: We learned this week that Georgia will do a hand recount of all of the ballots cast in this presidential election. There were about 5 million of them. What are your thoughts on the recount?

GROH-WARGO: Look; Trump knows he can't reverse the outcome to this race. This is an organizing tactic to attempt to energize Republican voters for the January runoff, OK? That's what this is about. This is about their disinformation campaign as a political strategy.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

KING: That was Lauren Groh-Wargo, the CEO of Fair Fight Action in Georgia. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.