The Georgia Special Election Will Test the Wave Of Anti-Trump Dissent

Democrats are hoping a highly-competitive race for the 6th District's seat closes the door on Trump's southern strategy.
04/18/2017 10:25 am ET Updated Apr 18, 2017
Reuters Photographer / Reuters

While we won’t have results for the special election for Georgia’s 6th congressional district until later on today, we already have some idea of just how significant this particular election is. Today (Tuesday, April 18th) represents the first time since 1977 that Democrats have had a chance to win the Georgia 6th, and one of the first times since November 8th that Americans get to use the ballot box to show Donald Trump and Congress how they feel about their performance so far.

There is reason to suspect it will be a close race. First, early in-person voting has been open since March 27th at various polling places throughout the district. Studies have shown time and again that early voting increases turnout. This year in the Georgia 6th we have seen data that shows just how important the number of open polling locations is when it comes to fairly and legally providing all citizens with the opportunity to vote.

Simply put, when more early voting locations are made available, more people exercise their right to vote. And this year, with early voting sites open across Cobb, Fulton, and DeKalb counties, more voices are being heard and a more accurate representation of the population of the Georgia 6th is making its way to the polls. In total, 54,817 early votes were cast, or roughly 33 percent of total expected voter turnout.

And what’s even more exciting is that the New American Majority ― unmarried women, minorities, and millennials ― is turning out at a higher rate than they did during the 2014 election in the same district. This is important for several reasons. In November, Donald Trump only won the Georgia 6th by 1.5 percent, despite incumbent Tom Price’s 24-point victory, and the 6th district’s demographics have been adding more liberal voters for a number of years in large part due to college graduates flocking to the northern Atlanta suburbs.

And with President Trump’s approval rating hovering around 40 percent, this special election is a chance for citizens to remind him that his support is anything but huge. It’s also a chance to show that the Republican Party no longer has a stranglehold on some of the districts that have long been considered unwinnable for Democrats. Voting gives people a voice, and despite the GOP’s best efforts to pass voter ID laws, illegally gerrymander districts, and disenfranchise entire swaths of Americans, voters will be voicing their opinion of the Trump administration on April 18th.

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