The super-voters we come into contact with most often are people over 65 and black women of all ages. So we ask: what do black women know, what our grandparents know, what makes them stand for election at every election – and how do campaigns communicate with them? We wanted to take [other] Voters in our state who are largely ignored – and who are the most energetic voters in our country – making them super-voters. So it’s not just about registering people, it’s about finding out what kind of message will move them. For example, what will move a Black Lives Matter activist who has given up democratic institutions and says his voice doesn’t matter? What makes this person listen to us, then sign up to vote, and then vote on every election they are eligible for for the rest of their life? And what has to happen to keep them on the electoral roll? And finally, how we can turn these people into members, activists, and organizers who will show up with us in our campaigns.

At the core of [the NGP Action Fund’s] Work is a robust research agenda. We developed an “Abrams Score” to determine where people fall on the ideological spectrum: low means you’re likely to be a conservative Republican, higher means a progressive Democrat. In many places, if you know someone’s race and gender, and perhaps income, you have enough to understand where that person falls on the spectrum. That’s not the case in Georgia, where there are black male Conservative Democrats who support Trump or whose ideology is up to date. In our electoral research on blacks, we also identified woken up activists and color-blind conservatives or African-Americans who say that race did not hinder [them] or not seeing race as an issue in our economy and institutions. We have [a score] for first generation college graduates. We also developed a predictive model to analyze colored voters who are not black because this notion that color is a political identity is not real.

How do you measure the success of these efforts?

Not only have we registered over half a million young people and people of color who have then turned up to vote in several elections, but we have also seen an increase in attendance at city council meetings. The number of candidates running for office from the communities with which we organize has increased. We’re backing nine candidates under the age of 25 who will run for school board in 2021 and will bring the students’ voice to the room as they make decisions about their return and tackle a lost year of learning. And we are changing the electoral culture and civic engagement. We’re hiring drag queens to perform and perform on election day. Yes, we dispense water. And yes, we rent food trucks, but also stilt walkers and drag queens and ballet troops to keep the voters happy.

When the Georgian legislature was considering the restrictive voting law SB 202, you launched a campaign calling on companies based in Georgia for their support. Why was that so important?

I don’t think these companies have understood that when we say that American democracy is the foundation on which their widely successful, publicly traded companies are allowed to thrive, it is more than a rhetorical device. We channeled them back and told them it was time for them to say something. Many simply dismissed us as annoying civil rights activists. But who the political priorities of this version of the [Republican] Party must be called. I was encouraged when companies stopped contributing to the campaign, but our efforts continue. We use shareholder meetings to remind people that these companies that you co-own can help protect voters’ rights.

The Georgia Act was passed. What’s next?

We filed a lawsuit within an hour of SB 202 becoming law. But voter suppression is a top priority for the Republican Party, and Georgia is one of 47 states where it is happening. So HR1 and HR4 [proposed federal legislation to protect and expand voting rights] is a priority. We also provide discussion points and strategy memos to groups in places like Texas, North Carolina, and Michigan that are in a similar situation. We are literally on every battlefield.

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