Black Voters at the Polls in Georgia: “Everybody We Know Is Ready for Trump to Get Out”

In a strip mall in north Atlanta, a Black man wearing a hard hat and work boots rushed to drop off his ballot on Election Day. “Are there...


In a strip mall in north Atlanta, a Black man wearing a hard hat and work boots rushed to drop off his ballot on Election Day. “Are there any Republicans here?” he shouted to two strangers in the parking lot. “We need Trump! We need to save the economy!” The man made a “T” shape with his arms—presumably for Trump—before disappearing inside. No one responded. The sun was high and the sky bright blue—but what about the state?

Albert Cooper Sinclair, Jr.

In nearby East Cobb, Albert Cooper Sinclair, Jr., a sixty-four-year-old builder of cubicles, had already cast an absentee ballot for Trump’s opponent. It was an easy choice, he said. “We need change. Especially with this coronavirus thing. Trump tried to push it under the rug.” Sinclair mentioned that he had sick friends and family members. “So much killing,” he said, “so much lying, so much cheating.” He went on, “How you gonna lead me in spirit, if you ain’t doing right yourself?”

Jalen.

Jalen, a freshman majoring in political science at Samford University, in Alabama, had driven back home, to East Cobb, to vote for the first time. He was a Bernie guy. “I had to go with the second-best choice—Biden,” he said. As for Trump, he added, “I agree with some of his views on the economy. But I don’t agree with how he handles racism and white supremacy and stuff.”

South of the city, in College Park, Latiesha Gooden, a Black medical assistant in her mid-thirties, got out of her car at her local polling place. “I want the best for my children,” she said, explaining that she’d voted “Democrats all the way down.” Nearby, a young woman, who was volunteering for an anti-voter suppression group, handed out fancy hamburgers. She mentioned how chaotic the primary had been, with voters waiting in long, hot queues. “So we’re overly prepared right now,” she said. She had three hundred and fifty hamburgers ready to go.

A Black woman wearing dark glasses passed on the burgers. Voting had been a struggle for her. “Tragedy happened in my family,” she explained. Her daughter had been killed at the end of October, in a car accident. “She’d just filled out her stuff to vote, the week before. She said, ‘Momma, I gotta find a drop box to drop this off.’ ” The woman added that, inside the voting site, a man had told her that “as long as it was filled out before the accident and dated,” her daughter’s vote would still count.

Sally.

Sally, a seventy-year-old semi-retired nurse wearing a fur-lined jacket and glasses, hustled inside. Ten minutes later, after having cast her vote, she sat down at a picnic table. “We need change,” she said. “We need to have some compassion for each other.” Voting hadn’t been easy for her, either. “I applied for an absentee ballot,” she said. “Every day I’ve been waiting, waiting, waiting for it. I didn’t get one.” When she saw on TV that the lines weren’t long on Election Day, she got herself out of the house to vote.

Over in Union City, at a polling place in another Black neighborhood, an entrepreneur wearing a newsboy cap posed for a picture. He was carrying a bottle of chocolate oat milk and a bag of potato chips—snacks being given out by the same anti-voter-suppression group that was distributing burgers to voters in College Park. “I’m gonna be honest,” the man said. “I did vote for Trump. He makes things happen. The Democratic movement based on L.G.B.T. liberalism is fine, but when you step away from God?” He went on, “I’m not giving up on the Democratic Party. But for President? Not comfortable with it.” A Jamaican-American man with dreads, who introduced himself as Ruda, had also chosen Trump. “Bernie is the real man,” Ruda said. “Biden is an undercover racist.” He made reference to QAnon.

It had grown dark. Ten minutes before the polls closed, K.C. and Alta, a middle-aged Black couple wearing masks and matching red tennis shoes, stepped out of their car. “I figured it would be kinda slack,” K.C. said. “Everybody’s already done.”

Were they happy with Trump? “No,” Alta said. “Everybody we know is ready for Trump to get out.”

K.C. noted an exception. “A guy who cuts hair in the barbershop where I’ve been going for years—I just found out he liked Trump,” he said. “How can you support this guy who has basically made every racial statement that you could possibly make about every race that there is, other than white supremacists?”

“And for women,” Alta added, “he just degrades women.” Alta went on, referring to Black Trump supporters, “We have idiots in every race.”

Trump, K.C. said, “He’s gonna go to prison. It’s just a matter of time. Once he loses, everyone’s gonna start talking.” He pulled his mask up for a second—to scratch his nose—and revealed a big smile.

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Newsrust: Black Voters at the Polls in Georgia: “Everybody We Know Is Ready for Trump to Get Out”
Black Voters at the Polls in Georgia: “Everybody We Know Is Ready for Trump to Get Out”
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