Like most people, I have been watching CNN since Tuesday night. If I hear the words “battleground states” or “unprecedented election” uttered one more time, I may lose it. On Thursday night in particular, I was especially tuned in to the movement of support for Biden in my home state of Georgia. For hours, viewers watched President Trump’s lead shrink in the state, and when I woke up on Friday morning, now President-Elect Joe Biden had taken the lead in the state. 

As I write this, Biden has just been projected the winner of this election after securing the 20 electoral college votes from Pennsylvania. Both Pennsylvania and Georgia played vital roles in the 2020 election. 

Unlike years past, Georgia was a swing state in this election and proved to be more crucial than ever. It leaves me asking, what factors contributed to this surprising shift? 

Stacey Abrams deserves immense praise for Georgia’s Democratic shift. After narrowly losing the 2018 gubernatorial race to Brian Kemp, an election that was widely impacted by voter suppression, Abrams shifted her focus to becoming an activist against voter suppression and creating organizations aimed at increasing voter turnout in the state. She has been involved with organizations like New Georgia Project and Fair Fight, both aimed at combating voter suppression in Georgia. Building this infrastructure unquestionably played a vital part in generating the blue wave in Georgia. 

Abrams was a maverick in acknowledging the large demographic shift in Georgia and the opportunity it presented for Democrats to win. According to the state’s website, Georgia has had a ten-year population growth rate of 14.4%. These numbers are rather concentrated in the predominantly liberal Metro Atlanta. The New York Times reported that the demographics in the state are increasingly diverse and that Abrams was responsible for “inspiring an estimated 800,000 residents to register to vote.”

Abrams was a firm believer that if the right resources and money was allocated towards advocating for voter registration and against voter suppression, there was a tangible opportunity for Georgia to become a competitive state for Democrats. The result of this election proves that she was right. Although Georgia currently remains a tight race and is headed towards a recount, the amount of support for President-elect Biden in the state is remarkable. Abrams’ work to attract funding for Democrats in Georgia, in addition to her relentless advocacy against voter suppression, is something to be celebrated. 

Stacey Abrams took her loss in 2018 in stride and used her clout and passion to spread awareness and ignite change. Although returns in Georgia are not finalized at this moment, her impact deserves extensive praise.