Why Chatham County votes matter

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – All eyes turned to Chatham County on Thursday as the nation awaited results from a number of uncounted ballots in the 2020 election.

As of time of publication, Georgia, one of the nation’s newest battleground states, still remains too close to call.

Uncounted ballots in a number of counties, including Chatham, helped former Vice President Biden close the gap between him and President Donald Trump.

Voting rights groups are now reflecting on the importance of Chatham County and expressing their plans to seize on the potential in this county.

Nse Ufot, the Executive Director of the New Georgia Project, says the organization has progressed on plans to expand their voter outreach efforts in Chatham County, but Thursday’s events solidified their need to open up shop in Savannah.

“If Chatham County voters are determining who the next President of the United States is, they very well might be in the position to determine the balance of power in the United States Senate,” said Ufot.

Both of Georgia’s Senate races are headed to a runoff election in January after no candidates reached the 50% margin needed to be declared the winner.

Ufot says this proves that not only Georgia, but Chatham County races are becoming much more competitive because of their diverse and growing electorate.

“There are no safe seats in Georgia anymore,” she said. “We are ushering in a new day and a new culture where people need to ask for their job every four years and I’m excited about what that means.”

Rev. James Woodall, a Georgia Southern alum and the State President of Georgia’s NAACP, says Savannah has always had a passion for civil rights, social justice and organizing.

“Savannah and Chatham County was able to defend this process, not even talking about electoral outcomes, but the process of elections and democracy,” said Rev. Woodall.

He says the results of the election thus far illustrate the successful intersectionality between opportunity and preparation.

The next goal is to continue to support grassroots organizations and activists in the local community in order to inform voters and to tackle issues like reentry support for formerly incarcerated people.

“The priority was how to build community, how do we build up the voices of grassroots organizers and labor workers and advocacy organizations so that issues that the people were prioritizing […] were that which was on the table.”

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