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As midterm elections arrive, both voting rights and abortion should be at the forefront of Georgian minds. Since 2020, repeated attacks on voting rights and the legitimacy of voting has eroded the foundation of our democracy. After the Supreme Court’s spring decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and delegate reproductive healthcare decisions to the states, abortion has been a key issue mobilizing voters. Students heading to the polls must support candidates that value their voting rights and will defend people’s autonomy over their own bodies. 

To protect our democracy, two candidates standout: Bee Nguyen for Georgia’s Secretary of State and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) for senator. Warnock deserves our votes as he runs for re-election in Congress in order to protect reproductive rights, expand healthcare opportunities and support the economy, among other key issues. Warnock is facing off against Herschel Walker – a political newcomer, former football player and alleged domestic abuser.

Nguyen’s platform centers protecting and expanding voting rights in Georgia. Her opponent, current Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, supports efforts to restrict voting ability through SB 202, a bill recently signed by Gov. Brian Kemp. Additionally, during Raffensperger’s time in office, around 200,000 Georgia citizens were incorrectly purged from the voting rolls due to address changes that never happened. SB 202 further deteriorates elections due to its restrictions on polls.

Nguyen plans to address the harm done to Georgia voting rights by Kemp and Raffensperger by decreasing barriers to vote-by-mail, training each election board in the state and working to repeal the provisions against voting imposed by Kemp. Her time in the state legislature has already spoken for her competence. In 2019, she helped overturn legislation that purged 50,000 voters from the Georgia voting rolls. She has shown consistent dedication to voter rights for all in Georgia, and students should exit the polls thrilled that they supported a candidate that is committed to expanding voting access for all — not picking and choosing who deserves accessible voting conditions. 

Incumbent opponent Raffensperger has proven himself to be Kemp’s lapdog. He is ardently against abortion and has further dismantled the sanctity of voting during his time as Secretary of State. He is a danger to democracy in Georgia, and we must stand against him at the polls. Vote Bee Nguyen, vote for a better and more accessible Georgia.

Since taking office after winning Georgia’s special runoff election in January 2021, Sen. Warnock has proved himself a tireless fighter for Georgians on a number of issues, such as fighting for voter rights’ protection.  Alongside Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), he sponsored the Voters on the Move Registration Act and the Preventing Election Subversion Act. He is one of several senators leading the charge to pass the Freedom to Vote Act

Warnock believes that choices about reproductive healthcare belong to people and their doctors; he recently signed federal legislation protecting people who cross state lines for abortion care. On the other hand,  Walker has said he supports a full ban on abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest or if the mother’s life is in danger. He recently updated his position in a recent debate with Warnock to endorse Georgia’s ultra-restrictive 2019 six-week ban.

These aren’t the only areas that set Warnock apart from Walker. Warnock signed massive congressional bills including the American Rescue Plan, Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Build Back Better, which provide economic stimulus, funding for infrastructure and energy projects and COVID-19 relief. He has also secured funding for Georgia ports to alleviate supply chain issues. Walker has criticized federal spending and regulations but offers no specific economic platform. During his time in Congress, Warnock introduced and sponsored several healthcare bills to lower prescription drug costs for seniors and Medicare recipients and to expand Medicaid. He has worked to cap insulin costs for Georgians and proposed legislation to address maternal mortality in the state. Warnock’s work in Congress far out runs an out of season running back. 

Environmental protections and gun safety are two critical issues also championed by college students, and Warnock has proven he will act in constituents’ best interests. Warnock wants to combat the climate crisis and notes its daily effects on Georgians including flooding, extreme heat, and lack of access to clean air and water. Warnock has also introduced the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act in an effort to boost the transition to clean energy. Additionally, Warnock has voted for major gun legislation that proposes stricter background checks, and keeps guns out of the hands of domestic violence offenders. He also supports red flag laws, increased funding for mental health provisions and a ban on high capacity assault weapons.

The seat Warnock and Walker are battling for could be the deciding factor in which party has Senate majority for the next two years. Democrats need Warnock as the 50th seat to hold their marginal majority, and projections call the Georgia race a “toss-up.” More than ever, voting is critical to ensure abortion rights, environmental protection and other critical issues don’t fall to the wayside. 

In Georgia, Nov. 4 is the last day you can vote early and in-person, and Nov. 7 is the last day you can register to be eligible to vote on Election Day. If you haven’t voted already, we’ll see you at the ballot boxes!

The above editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel’s Editorial Board. The Editorial Board is composed of Isabelle Bellott-McGrath, Rachel Broun, Evelyn Cho, Ellie Fivas, Marc Goedemans, Aayam Kc, Elyn Lee, Saanvi Nayar, Shruti Nemala, Nushrat Nur, Sara Perez, Ben Thomas and Kayla Robinson.