Meet the formidable women in Georgia who fought for democracy and won.
They battled generations of racism and voter suppression, inspiring record black voter turnout. Now their sights are set on the American South.
At last November’s presidential elections, black women in the southern US state of Georgia pulled off the unthinkable. They delivered a staunchly conservative state to Democrat Joe Biden.
Their secret? Record voter turnout.
Now they want to do it again in the Senate run-off elections.
“This vote is a hammer and you can use it. Or maybe it’s a flashlight and you can see your way out of this,” says Deborah Scott from Georgia Stand-Up, a non-partisan voting rights group based in the capital Atlanta.
Deborah and her team are part of a movement which has campaigned tirelessly for more than a decade to mobilise minorities to vote.
They’re battling rough tactics by the Republican State government which has been purging tens of thousands off the electoral roll. It’s called ‘voter suppression’.
But this just adds fuel to their fire. “The more you suppress us, the more we are coming for you,” says Deborah.
Our US-based reporter Karishma Vyas goes to the Deep South as Deborah and her team gear up for the crucial Senate poll which will decide control of Congress.
We hear from voters who have been purged from the roll, from white militia members who question the validity of their vote, and from the volunteers mobilising young people to turn out like never before.
‘‘It’s been an awakening” says 25-year-old Stand-Up organiser Ariel. “It’s a great fearlessness because you feel as though anything is possible.”
In a timely and inspiring story, we see the black women of Georgia successfully turn out record numbers of voters, even as powerful forces conspire to undermine their democratic rights.
For Deborah and her team, this is just the beginning. They have become a new force in US politics.
“As Georgia goes, so does the rest of the South. We see it as a tipping point,” says Deborah Scott.
Reporter: Karishma Vyas
Producer: Catherine Scott
Give Us the Ballot on FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT – Tuesday 2 February at 8pm on ABC TV + iview.
You can catch replays on ABC NEWS channel Thursday at 12:30am, Saturdays at 9:30pm and Sundays at 6:30pm.