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Rochesterians contributed to voter mobilization in Georgia runoffs

provided by Michelle Daniels
Michelle Daniels (far right) and Jill Paperno (right) of Rochester for Georgia stand alongside DNC Chair Tom Perez (left) in Buffalo, NY.

Rochester played a role in this week's runoff elections in Georgia that gave Democrats control of the U.S. Senate.

Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock won their races by a narrow margin with a strong turnout from Black voters.


Rochester for Georgia, a local group of around 130 volunteers, staffed phone banks and distributed thousands of postcards in an effort to mobilize more people to cast their ballots for Ossoff and Warnock.

Organizer Michelle Daniels, who worked on Stacey Abrams' 2018 campaign for Georgia governor, dedicated herself to the project after making a promise to the late Rep. John Lewis, whom she knew personally.

“I gave him my promise that I would keep on,” she said. “So after John Lewis’s passing, it was just automatic. I had to do whatever I could do for Georgia.”

The demographics and politics in Georgia are changing, Daniels said, and there are fewer “sundown areas,” which are places where it's dangerous to go as a Black person at night.

In the context of the insurrection at the Capitol Building on Wednesday, Daniels said she hopes the way politicians govern will change for the better going forward.

“The spirit of working with each other and working for the people I think has pretty much dissipated in our national and local politics,” she said. “Our tax dollars pay for them to represent us, not these ideals.”