In the 2018 midterm elections in Georgia, the math is simple. If turnout among black voters is low—somewhere near 2014’s midterm mark of 41 percent—the Republican gubernatorial candidate and Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp will probably win. If black turnout is high, and registrations among eligible black voters are solid, the Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams will probably win. All of the traditional campaign goals in a southern state, such as fundraising, figuring out how to build multiracial and cross-class coalitions, and identifying the policies that resonate with a broad range of voters, still matter. But when it really comes down to it, the game is black votes.
The Republican candidate and Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp denies charges that he is attempting to suppress African American turnout for political advantage—but advocates say barriers to the ballot help his cause all the same.