Next Story

DeKalb promotes low-flow toilets

Minority voter registration surges in Georgia


Perhaps in response to the most contentious presidential election in modern times, minority voter registration in Georgia has surged over the past year, with nearly 342,000 new voters added to electoral rolls.

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of voter registration data shows minority voter registration rose 23 percent. White registration rose 15 percent, and still accounts for nearly 57 percent of the state’s voters.

Studies and polls show minority voters tend to vote for Democrats. University of Georgia political scientist Charles Bullock doubts the growth of minority voters will be enough to deliver the Peach State to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton this year. But he said a future where Democrats are competitive may not be far off — maybe in the next four years in Gwinnett County.

Georgia’s second-largest county has been a Republican stronghold for 30 years. The AJC’s analysis shows that, for the first time, a majority of Gwinnett voters did not identify themselves as white on registration forms. Bullock believes Gwinnett will swing to the Democrats by 2020.

“It’s just a matter of time before Gwinnett turns Democratic, and an election cycle or two after that for Cobb,” he said.

The newspaper analyzed voter registration statistics compiled by the Secretary of State’s Office in 2015 and after last week’s registration deadline for the November general election.

The analysis showed black voter registration rose 20.5 percent statewide; Asian registration rose 40.7 percent; and Hispanic registration rose 46.2 percent.

The share of Georgia voters who are white fell from 58.5 percent a year ago to 56.9 percent this week.

Bullock said the share of white voters has fallen even further since the last presidential election four years ago, when it was 59.2 percent.

In Gwinnett, the share of voters who identified themselves as white dipped to 48.7 percent this month. Another 38.7 percent of voters identified themselves as black, Hispanic, Asian or American Indian. The remainder marked “other” race when they registered or did not identify their race at all.

Minority registration has risen 30 percent in both Gwinnett and Cobb counties over the last year. It rose nearly 22 percent in DeKalb and 24 percent in both Fulton and Clayton counties.

The rise in minority voter registration comes amid a presidential campaign in which immigration has become a divisive issue. Republican nominee Donald Trump has proposed building a wall along the Mexican border to stop illegal immigration, called many Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals and pledged to ban Muslims from entering the country.

Civil rights advocates say Trump’s comments have spurred many minorities to register to vote for the first time.

Dinesh Sthanki has lived in the United States for more than 30 years and has been a U.S. citizen for a decade. But he never registered to vote until this month, when he found a registration booth at a shopping mall in Norcross. He said he was motivated to register by Trump’s candidacy.

“I wish people realized the shallowness of this gentleman,” Sthanki said.

Antonio Molina, the Latino caucus chair for the Georgia Democratic Party, said minority votes could be decisive in delivering the Peach State to Clinton this year.

“There’s a lot of change going on,” Molina said. “Obviously, the undertone to all this is the type of policies that Trump has been speaking about.”

Leo Smith, who leads the Republicans’ minority outreach efforts in Georgia, acknowledged Trump’s comments have made his job harder. But he said Democrats don’t have a lock minority voters.

“You can’t make the assumption that all the new voters of color are going to be Democratic voters,” Smith said. “(Republicans) want to be relevant to all of our citizens.”

Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz said demographic shifts alone won’t be enough to carry Georgia for Clinton this year. He said she’ll need to do better among white voters than Barack Obama, who carried just 25 percent of white voters here in 2008.

But Abramowitz believes Georgia’s time as a battleground state in presidential elections has arrived.

“I think it will be close,” he said. “My guess is she’ll be within three points. That means she’s got a chance.”

Next Up in Georgia Politics

Supreme Court cancels oral arguments concerning Trump’s travel ban
Supreme Court cancels oral arguments concerning Trump’s travel ban

The U.S. Supreme Court has canceled next month’s oral arguments concerning President Donald Trump’s travel ban, citing the new travel restrictions he issued by proclamation Sunday. The high court isn’t disposing of the case. Rather, it is asking both sides to file briefs by Oct. 5, showing whether the case is now moot, given the new...
Barrow plunges back into politics with Georgia secretary of state bid
Barrow plunges back into politics with Georgia secretary of state bid

Former Georgia Congressman John Barrow, who was the last white Democrat from the Deep South in Congress, will end a three-year absence from politics with a statewide Democratic bid to become secretary of state in 2018. Barrow said in a statement Monday that he refuses to “stand on the sidelines when we face such huge challenges” and vowed...
The Right gives Trump the win in national anthem protests
The Right gives Trump the win in national anthem protests

A roundup of editorials Monday looks at how fans booed the players who did not stand for the anthem, how liberals don’t get Joe and Jane Sixpack and why the players, owners and Commissioner Roger Goodell should be ashamed of themselves. Here are some opinions from the Right. 1. Trump wins when the NFL takes a knee From The Daily Caller:...
Georgia ethics panel will audit candidates in governor’s, mayor’s races
Georgia ethics panel will audit candidates in governor’s, mayor’s races

Candidates for governor in Georgia are often targets of campaign-report-related ethics complaints from political opponents who don’t want them to win the state’s top job. But they’d better keep an even closer eye on their campaign books in 2018. Because the state’s ethics watchdog agency is going to be auditing them. In addition...
Trump is nothing more than a racist provocateur, according to the Left 
Trump is nothing more than a racist provocateur, according to the Left 

A roundup of editorials Monday looks at how President Donald Trump insists on stirring the racial pot, how the player who sparked the protest won the day and how the president holds a “slave master-like obsession” with attacking blacks. Here are some opinions from the Left. 1. Trump keeps fanning racial flames From the Ashbury Park...
More Stories