ATLANTA (WUPA) -- Voter outreach efforts are picking up steam in Georgia as well as across the South, ahead of the November elections. A metro Atlanta-based partnership is providing millions of dollars in grants to help the cause.
Georgia's Asian American community played a big role in the historic voter turnout in 2020, and voter advocacy groups are now rounding up voters for the 2022 elections.
"We are doing much of the same that we have been doing, in terms of engaging our communities in multiple languages," said Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta Executive Director Phi Nguyen.
Nguyen urged elected leaders to invest in removing some of the language barriers hindering voter participation among communities where English is not a first language.
"We know that 2022 is a critical year and that Asian Americans have the power to be the margin of victory," Nguyen said.
It takes millions of dollars to provide the resources needed to engage voters. Last year, Southern Poverty Law Center joined the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta to award two-year grants totaling over $11 million. On Monday, they announced plans to distribute close to an additional $5 million in grants to 39 non-partisan grassroots organizations, including Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta.
"It enables us to hire more canvassers because we are expanding our field program," Nguyen said. "We need more boots on the ground."
It's all part of the Vote Your Voice Initiative, helping communities exercise their right to vote through voter education and mobilization efforts, especially in communities of color.
"That is what we are focused on, is how do we focus and bring folks together and empower them," said Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta President and CEO Frank Fernandez.
SPLC and Community Foundation joined several Southern organizations for a virtual funding announcement on Monday afternoon. The ongoing mobilization efforts come after several states passed sweeping election reorganization laws following the 2020 election.
The SPLC has pledged $100 million through Vote Your Voice to support voter engagement over the next decade.
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