Loan Forgiveness, Voting Rights Are Key Issues in Georgia Senate Runoff

Loan Forgiveness, Voting Rights Are Key Issues in Georgia Senate Runoff

Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

With the control of the U.S. Senate at stake, young Georgia voters are ready to make their voices heard in the runoff election. 

In Tuesday’s highly anticipated election, Republican incumbent Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler face Democrats Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock, respectively. 

Despite the pandemic, college students and young adults have worked for weeks to mobilize their peers to register to vote and then show up at the polls. For some Georgia voters, this will be their first election as the Civics Center estimates that about 23,000 potential voters turned 18 between the November general election and the runoff. Millennials and Generation Z helped shape the presidential election by showing up in record numbers and were key to turning Georgia blue for President-elect Joe Biden. 

As Georgians head to the polls, we asked young voters what issues they care about most. 

Amir Mithaiwala, 21

Photo courtesy of Amir Mithaiwala

“When I look for qualities in a candidate, I look for someone who has firsthand experiences of struggles society faces and has a game plan for change. I expect the candidate I vote for to demand that healthcare is a right and that communities in Georgia invest more in social works instead of policing.”

Jasmine Vasquez, 20

Photo courtesy of Jasmine Vasquez

“I imagine that the special election will be a turning point for Georgia. If both Senate seats were to flip blue, it would signify that the state is on a roll to becoming more progressive and even staying blue throughout the coming years.  I expect candidates to be honest and loyal to this country, rather than mindlessly following behind their party leader.”

Will Carter, 23, Savannah, GA

Photo courtesy of WIll Carter

“The Senate race is exceedingly important, and it is my hope that the Republicans win both seats. I am especially concerned due to the threat of court-packing from Biden as well as the notion that if we lose these two seats, the Democrats shall control both Houses of Congress by a slim margin.”

Sobia Azhar, 22

Photo courtesy of Sobia Azhar

“Some issues that I care about when I choose a candidate are homelessness, loan forgiveness, free Medicare for all, wealth redistribution, and funding for low-income neighborhoods. This election is almost as if it’s the old South versus the new south. Hopefully, this election brings change to a southern norm of racist policies.”

Derrian Carter, 20

Photo courtesy of Derrian Carter

“I view this special election as an election for the entire U.S., not just Georgia. Tying the Senate 50-50 will allow progressive policies to get pushed, and that excites me. The issues I care most about are climate change, marijuana reform, and voting rights.”