A host of California residents and California-based political organizations are prepared to descend on Georgia. They plan
to campaign for two Democratic U.S. Senate candidates whose
victory would have profound implications for the direction of the country.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Democrats in the Golden State have been hounding political organizers with questions about how they can travel to Georgia to volunteer for Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock.
Ossof is running against Republican Sen. David Perdue and Warnock is running against incumbent GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Both races went to a Jan. 5 runoff election after no candidate won a majority in the November election.
The current balance of power for the incoming Senate is 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats. If Democrats win both of Georgia’s runoff elections to make it a 50-50 Senate, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be the tie-breaking vote. This would give her party a razor-thin majority in the chamber.
The runoff election has fired up Democrats from out of state. According to campaign finance data, more than 83% of funds for Ossof’s campaign came from outside Georgia,
as did nearly 80% of funds for Warnock’s fall campaign.
Flip the West, a California-based organization dedicated to harnessing grassroots power to help Democrats take back the U.S. Senate, has filled up more than 7,500 phone bank shifts for making calls to Georgia, according to the Chronicle. Additionally, more than 16,000 volunteers have signed up to send postcards to Georgia voters reminding them to vote in the runoff election.
Ronnie Cohen, the organization’s executive director, told the outlet that the number of volunteers “is unprecedented for us.”
“Often you have to nudge people to phone bank. It just shows the passion people have for this,” she said.
Others want to to physically travel to Georgia. Manny Yekutiel, a political activist who owns a civic engagement space in San Francisco’s Mission District, said he has been bombarded with calls asking him: “When do I move to Georgia? Where can I stay? Should I get a block of hotel rooms?”
Among the most high-profile people who said they were moving to Georgia just to vote in the election is former Democratic Presidential nominee Andrew Yang.
“Great news #yanggang – Evenlyn and I are moving to Georgia to help @ossoff and @ReverendWarnock win!” Yang tweeted earlier this month. “This is our only chance to
clear Mitch out of the way and help Joe and Kamala in the next 4 years.”
The vast number of people who said they were willing to move to Georgia just so they
can vote in the runoff election has prompted state officials to push back on the idea.
Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system manager, cautioned during a press conference last week that doing so would violate state law.
“In order to be able to register to vote in Georgia, you have to be a Georgia resident,” he said. “That means you have to believe you are staying in Georgia.”
Those who try to vote in Georgia while merely visiting the state may face felony charges punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.”