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Experts say Georgia abortion decision not likely to majorly impact runoff

Energizing voters to show up to the polls will be the bigger challenge.

ATLANTA — Days before voters across the state will be able to take advantage of Saturday voting, a Georgia Supreme Court reinstated the ban on abortion after six weeks. 

Dr. Andra Gillespie, a professor of political science at Emory, said this one issue will not spur voters to show up to the polls for the Dec. 6 runoff election. Instead, she said, the candidates will have a different challenge. 

"It's the idea of targeting voters who may have turned out to participate in this primary election because of their dissatisfaction over the Dobbs decision and trying to make sure that they remember to turn out and vote again," she said.

Gillespie also told 11Alive, the larger political climate may be a factor. 

"They're being contacted by groups that organize around those issues to turn out again," she said. "But it may not be specifically related to age before anyone, but it would be more likely to be related to the larger sort of cultural climate that we're in now."

Gillespie also said voters may be overwhelmed after more than a year of targeted political ads. The fatigue -- combined with the fever of the holidays --  means the candidates will likely have to do more to engage voters. 

Political strategist Brian Robinson agreed.

"Voters have been tuned out, traveling, seeing family, watching football, not necessarily talking about politics or reading about politics," Robinson said.

He added voters may also have other issues in the forefront of the minds, making their feeling about Georgia's "heartbeat law" a lower priority. 

"There's a spectrum of issues that people decide on, abortion falls somewhere on them. And people aren't going to vote in a referendum on an abortion issue."

If voters do think about the topic of abortion when it comes to the Senate race, it will likely have more to do with a desire to influence judicial appointments. 

"It does make a difference, however, and who gets appointed and denied to federal court," Robinson said. "That's sort of a roundabout abortion argument in a federal race."

More information about Saturday voting in Georgia can be found here


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