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With Georgia in dead heat, Trump and Biden woo Black voters

Polls show that Georgia, which President Trump won by nearly five points in 2016, has emerged as a hotly contested state with Biden and Trump battling it out for the Black vote. Meanwhile, officials are recruiting thousands of tech savvy poll workers and launched a service for voters in the state to track their absentee ballots. Senior Correspondent for Georgia Public Broadcasting, Rickey Bevington joins.

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  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    For more on the political state of play in Georgia, where both senate and presidential races are heating up, I spoke with Senior Correspondent for Georgia Public Broadcasting, Rickey Bevington.

    Rickey, a couple of months ago, it would have been impossible to think of Georgia being a hotly contested state, but that's where we're at now.

  • Rickey Bevington:

    Three different high-quality polls this week put the Biden-Trump presidential race pretty much in a dead heat, which is extraordinary. Trump won Georgia by just under five points in 2016.

    Biden and the Democrats announced that they're adding Georgia to their 12 state strategy in terms of spending millions of dollars in ad buys. Biden is here this week targeting African-American men, and Trump is here this week also with the same message for the Black vote.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    What about when it comes to getting people to trust the process, especially in light of the fact that the president for the last several months has made unsubstantiated claims of massive mail-in fraud?

  • Rickey Bevington:

    Just on Friday, Hari, the secretary of state, unveiled a website where people can actually track their absentee ballot. This is significant. More than a million Georgians have requested an absentee ballot so that they can either drop it off at a dropbox or mail it in.

    And now we're seeing that this, of course, trust issue is important for people. And so the secretary of state among many efforts to secure people's vote and provide confidence that it will be counted, has now published this website.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Considering the long lines that we saw in Georgia during the primaries, what have Georgia election officials learned and what can people expect in November?

  • Rickey Bevington:

    There's currently an effort to recruit 20,000 tech savvy poll workers for Georgia. They're at about 15,000 right now. Georgia rolled out $100 million new voting machine systems so that the machines are new to voters and poll workers.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Besides the presidential election, I mean, we have a tendency to put focus on that, but we've got an important Senate race as well.

  • Rickey Bevington:

    We sure do. And those same polls that I mentioned also put the races very, very close. We have two Republican senators running. Kelly Loeffler was an appointed senator and David Perdue is running for just reelection standard. It's essentially a three way race for the Kelly Loeffler seat.

    There are 20 candidates, which is extraordinary. There's no primary. It's called a jungle primary. The top two vote getters, if nobody gets 50%, will go to a runoff regardless of party. Congressman Doug Collins is her Republican challenger and newcomer, Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock. Collins and Loeffler will split the Republican vote on Election Day. There's enormous pressure on other Democratic candidates to drop out to consolidate the Democratic vote behind Reverend Warnock and potentially win outright on Election Day and avoid a runoff altogether. Now, David Perdue faces Democratic also challenger John Ossoff. President Barack Obama endorsed Ossoff. And that is promising to be a potential fight as well for that Senate seat.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    A lot to look forward to on election night. Rickey Bevington from Georgia Public Broadcasting, thanks so much.

  • Rickey Bevington:

    Thank you, Hari.

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