There is a scene in the Denzel Washington movie “Remember the Titans” where the newly integrated football team from Alexandria, Virginia, began playing other teams that remained all-white. The viewer is shown the flagrant rule violations that the referees allow from the white team. Washington calls his team into the huddle and exhorts them to keep playing their best.
I was a cheerleader at Atlanta’s Southwest High School in that same era of newly integrated sports. During the regular season, our amazing basketball teams played teams in the city of Atlanta. But to win a state championship — we had to play and beat teams from the rest of Georgia. We knew that to win, it was not enough to beat the team — we had to beat the “refs.”
When the referees began to call the game against our players, unfairly, our boys and girls didn’t leave the court — they played harder and cleaner — and they won. As Congressman John Lewis says, “never give up, never give in.”
The refs are not playing fair in the Georgia election. The ACLU of Georgia has challenged the myriad ways that voter suppression happens in Georgia — poll closures, inaccurate information on voter registration materials, voter purges. We, along with other partners, have been diligent in using the legal means at hand to bring fairness to the rules of this election. We will keep fighting voter suppression.
Now, it is Game Time. ACLU of Georgia volunteers are phone banking, hosting house parties, organizing community forums, and canvassing to educate voters about the issues at stake in this election — especially Georgia’s progress on criminal justice reform.
On Monday, October 15, Early Voting began in the state of Georgia. On Saturday, October 27 there is Saturday voting everywhere in the state of Georgia, and the final chance to vote is on Tuesday, November 6.
We implore every registered voter — go to the polls, take your photo ID, and vote. Check your voter status and polling place on the My Vote website. If your registration is listed as “pending,” you are entitled to vote a paper absentee ballot at the polling place. Take your ID with you.
Every single vote matters. Let’s have the largest voter turnout Georgia has ever seen. It’s Game Time.
Andrea Young is executive director of the ACLU of Georgia.