Former POTUS Barack Obama warned the crowd to not get complacent due to the strong statewide early voting turnout. “Change only happens when you keep working hard to make change happens,” he said. Photo by Julia Beverly/The Atlanta Voice

A small, young voice shouted over the din of the large crowd inside Pullman Yards. “We have the power,” it said. Four-year-old Kiran (pronounced like the biblical text Quran) got the attention of the main speaker, who was on stage in metro Atlanta for the second time in less than six weeks. “Hello Atlanta, I’m back. I am back,” said former President of the United States Barack Obama.

The reason Obama was back in Georgia was to attempt to get one of the candidates he stumped for last month (the other was Stacey Abrams) into office. Hearing Kiran’s message of the power of the vote, Obama said, “This young man is getting straight A’s in this class,” and added the popular biblical axiom (Psalms 8:2), “From the mouth of babes.”

Obama had spoken to voters a week before the midterm election at Gateway Center Arena in College Park and now he was back, this time in Kirkwood, talking to voters again. The message was a bit different however, this time he wanted voters to maintain the momentum from yet another record-setting early voting turnout.

Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock moments before speaking to a large crowd at Pullman Yards in Atlanta’s Kirkwood neighborhood. Photo by Julia Beverly/The Atlanta Voice

Georgia has seen more than 1 million voters take advantage of a second early voting opportunity as of Wednesday, according to data provided by the Secretary of State’s Office. “You know it feels like we just did this,” Obama said.

The former president, who was brought out onto the stage by Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), said the massive turnout -there were more than 300,000 ballots cast on Monday and Tuesday, November 28 and 29, according to Secretary of State’s Office data- was something to be very proud of.

That said, he doesn’t want the people that haven’t voted to take that as a sign enough votes had been cast. “We can’t get complacent, we have to run through the tape,” he said.

Obama continued, “Change doesn’t happen in one election, it doesn’t happen in two, three, four elections. Change only happens when you keep working hard to make [it] happen.”

A girl works on coloring a picture of Warnock Thursday night. Photo by Julia Beverly/The Atlanta Voice

Any complacency about the Democratic Party already securing the seats it needs for control of the United States Senate was another thing Obama put into better perspective for the crowd. “What’s the difference between 50 and 51?,” he asked the crowd rhetorically. “The answer is a lot. 51 is better that 50 because that means Reverend Warnock will keep representing you in the senate.”

Warnock echoed Obama’s sentiments. “I’m inspired by this strong early vote turnout but I don’t want us to be lulled to sleep,” he said.

“If you vote not only will we re-elect Raphael Warnock, not only will we keep Georgia and America on a path for a better future, but we’ll set the tone for the future for this four-year-old right there,” Obama said of Kiran.

Early voting for the runoff ends Friday, December 2.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began his career covering sports and news in Atlanta nearly two decades ago. Since then he has written for Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Southern Cross...