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In Georgia, ProGeorgia and their partners have been protecting our communities’ right to social connection and accurate information via text.

June 24, 2022

Texting for Democracy

In Georgia, ProGeorgia and their partners have been protecting our communities’ right to social connection and accurate information via text.

The Challenge

Communities use text messaging to connect with people, help them during times of crisis, and connect them with civic resources. That connection is in danger because of new carrier rules that would severely limit text messages that state, local, and national civic engagement organizations use to connect with marginalized communities.

This is especially dangerous for communities that are frequently targeted with disinformation, as it would remove an essential way to get accurate information about how to engage in the civic process.

The Approach

The State Voices Affiliated Network joined and helps lead a coalition of over 100 organizations who are invested in using civic tech to help voters and communities build a healthy democracy and future. Namely, we’re protecting person-to-person text messaging, the safest, most accessible way to reach voters and our communities.

We challenge carriers directly around the issue, and are pushing Congress to provide oversight of the ways large mobile carriers are impacting marginalized communities’ access to information.

ProGeorgia has been a leading State Table in this effort.

ProGeorgia organizers mobilize at a local Atlanta market to help register voters.

“Our small organization was able to text around 300,000 Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color, giving them the right information about where to go to get their vaccinations. It was incredibly powerful for a small organization to do big things on behalf of our people.”

— Kimberlyn Carter, Executive Director of Represent GA Institute

Our Impact

ProGeorgia and their partners led phone and text message banks to engage 25,000 prospective voters ahead of the 2021 Georgia runoff. In partnership with groups like the Hispanic Federation, Latino Community Fund, Rock the Vote, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE), and GALEO their efforts culminated in over 18,906,100 contacts to voters, and the election broke records for voter turnout.

ProGeorgia partners integrated new technology into their operations to offset the barriers of this shifting virtual landscape. They targeted counties with large immigrant communities and communities of color with the following strategies: integrated COVID related support into our outreach, providing PPE, hand sanitizers, gloves, and masks to ensure community members had essential items to stay safe. They also educated voters about new voting accommodations.

Conclusion

In 2021, ProGeorgia registered 6,204 voters, meeting 74% of their voter registration goal of 8,400, despite the Table and partners needing to transition their voter registration program virtually due to COVID-19, and despite the obstacles created by carrier rules.

Furthermore, due to advocacy from State Tables like ProGeorgia, our coalition has scheduled multiple meetings with carriers and Congress and are hopeful about our movement.

Georgia voters practice social distancing while waiting to vote.