Stacey Abrams should be sitting in the governor’s mansion right now, and the reason she isn’t, is because of black voters. Let me be clear. Were there shenanigans going on before and during the election? Of course. Polling stations had been closed in black communities and there were voting machine malfunctions and long lines at other polling locations, but black voters in this state could have easily overcome all those obstacles. Let me explain.
Brian Kemp won by 54,723 votes out of 3,939,328 votes cast. Everybody was patting themselves on the back because of the high turnout — but don’t get it twisted, only 61.44 percent of the 6,428,581 registered voters in the state cast a ballot. Yes, that was high for a mid-term election, but let’s play a little “What If?”
In Macon-Bibb County, for the Nov. 6, 2018 election, there were 22,969 registered black men, but only 10,660 — 46.41 percent — voted. There were 31,750 registered black women, but only 19,397 — 61.09 percent, voted. If all the registered black voters in Macon-Bibb County had voted, almost half of Abrams’ deficit would have disappeared.
Houston County was not much better, only 54 percent of its registered black men voted and 53 percent of its black women. In Peach County, only 47 percent of its black men went to the polls and 58 percent of its black women.
But here’s a couple of statistics that should bring tears to your eyes. Out of the state’s159 counties, in only 40, did the voting percentage of black men rise to 50 percent or better. Only three counties had black men break the 60 percent mark — Fayette, Jones and Taliaferro counties. White men, on the other hand, had 102 counties with turnout over 60 percent and 21 counties where turnout was 70 percent or higher.
Now come the Elephant tears. In DeKalb and Fulton counties, 152,607 registered black men didn’t vote and 147,041 black women in those counties didn’t vote, either. Remember, Abrams only lost by 54,723. If just 20 percent of the almost 300,000 registered voters in DeKalb and Fulton counties that didn’t vote — voted, Abrams would have won by almost 6,000 votes.
What do those numbers tell us? If we had just halfway done our job — particularly black men, Stacey Abrams would be governor. We would have a female lieutenant governor and a different secretary of state. As a black community, we have yet to understand the power of our vote, nor do we grasp why some folks have been trying to keep our people from voting since Reconstruction.
This country was torn apart by an Uncivil War brought about by the animosity in the hearts of man over what they thought our station in life should be. We’ve been redlined, blackballed, threatened and killed for little of nothing. They have hung us from the limbs of trees and shot us down in cold blood because they didn’t believe the words of their own Founding Fathers’ Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
And in 2019, do we believe these words? Fair warning — 2020 will be a big election year. Will we show up? There are those who make things happen, those who allow
things to happen, and those who ask, “What happened?” We’ve allowed things to happen to us for far too long and asked the question “what happened?” too many times.
Isn’t it time we went out and made something happen?
Written by Charles E. Richardson