In Georgia, Politics Moves Past Just Black and White

Surrounded by bill supporters, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signs House Bill 60 into law during a signing event Wednesday, April 23, 2013, in Ellijay, Ga. The bill makes several changes to the state's gun law. It allows those with a license to carry to bring a gun into a bar without restriction and into some government buildings that don't have certain security measures. It also allows religious leaders to decide whether it's OK for a person with a carry license to bring a gun into their place of worship. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Brant Sanderlin)
Surrounded by bill supporters, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signs House Bill 60 into law during a signing event Wednesday, April 23, 2013, in Ellijay, Ga. The bill makes several changes to the state's gun law. It allows those with a license to carry to bring a gun into a bar without restriction and into some government buildings that don't have certain security measures. It also allows religious leaders to decide whether it's OK for a person with a carry license to bring a gun into their place of worship. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Brant Sanderlin)
Surrounded by bill supporters, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signs House Bill 60 into law during a signing event Wednesday, April 23, 2013, in Ellijay, Ga. The bill makes several changes to the state’s gun law. It allows those with a license to carry to bring a gun into a bar without restriction and into some government buildings that don’t have certain security measures. It also allows religious leaders to decide whether it’s OK for a person with a carry license to bring a gun into their place of worship. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Brant Sanderlin)

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (New York Times) — A gated community of regal brick homes with impeccable landscaping and $450,000 price tags might seem an unlikely place for a voter-registration drive. The neighborhood, with its swimming pool and tennis courts, evokes stability and a sense of having arrived.

But when Maria Palacios, 24, a part-time canvasser for a Latino rights advocacy group, knocked on doors on a sweltering summer afternoon, she was greeted by those who had never cast ballots, immigrants like herself — newcomers from Korea, Vietnam, India, Pakistan and Mexico, all faces of a changing Georgia.

“There are a lot of people here from Mexico like us,” said Hector Velazco, an information technology consultant, telling Ms. Palacios that he and his wife are awaiting naturalization so they can vote. “It’s not only workers to mow the grass.”

This is the new Georgia, a state whose transformed economy has spawned a population boom and demographic shifts that are slowly altering its politics. With African-Americans coming in large numbers from other states, and emerging immigrant communities like this one in Lawrenceville, Georgia is less white and less rural than it was a decade ago.

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