Stacey Abrams on Government Reform
While I acknowledged the results of the 2018 election here in Georgia--I did not and we cannot accept efforts to undermine our right to vote. That's why I started a nonpartisan organization called Fair Fight to advocate for voting rights.
This is the next battle for our democracy, one where all eligible citizens can have their say about the vision we want for our country. We must reject the cynicism that says allowing every eligible vote to be cast and counted is a "power grab." The foundation of our moral leadership around the globe is free and fair elections, where voters pick their leaders--not where politicians pick their voters.
[VIDEO CLIP] ABRAMS: This is not a speech of concession, because concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true, or proper.[END VIDEO]
Q: Abrams is now planning to launch a federal lawsuit against the state for what she called gross mismanagement of the election. Leader Abrams joins us. You said that "Democracy failed in Georgia," referring to, as you called it, incompetence and mismanagement. But do you think that there was deliberate interference in the election?
ABRAMS: Yes. And I believe it began eight years ago with the systematic disenfranchisement of more than a million voters. It continued with the underfunding and disinvestment in polling places, in training, and in the management of the county delivery of services. And I think it had its pinnacle in this race. There has been a dramatic discrepancy in the way absentee ballots are both allocated & counted across the 159 counties.
STACY ABRAMS: Maintaining clean voter rolls is absolutely appropriate, but the vigor with which he did so--a perfect example is the 92-year-old civil rights activist who's lived in the West End of Atlanta for more than 40 years, has voted in every single election since 1968, and was removed from the polls. She went to vote, and had to take more than 2 hours to get a provisional ballot. This is someone who has never failed to vote. The problem we have is that it's death by 1,000 cuts. It's not sufficient to simply purge voters from the rolls for inactivity. He removed voters who were eligible. And the larger issue is this. Trust in our democracy relies on believing that there are good actors who are making this happen. And he was a horrible actor who benefited from his perfidy.
STACEY ABRAMS: Absolutely. I was part of a coalition that sued him in 2016 to force him to stop using this process. And a federal judge agreed with us, said that he had unlawfully canceled more than 33,000 registrations. And they forced him to restore those registrations. In response, the Republicans passed a law in the 2017 legislative session to allow him to do it again. And so the challenge is twofold. One is that we know this is a flawed system that has a disproportionate effect on people of color. But it also has the ability to erode trust in our system.
Kemp advocated for stricter voter ID laws to prevent what he called the threat of illegal voters casting ballots and Abrams contending those new rules could disenfranchise minorities, the disabled and the elderly.
But they clashed the sharpest during the 2014 after Abrams new voter registration group, the New Georgia Project, announced ambitious goals to register 800,000 minority voters within a decade. The group said it submitted 86,000 voter registration forms during the 2014 cycle, but Kemp's office argued that tens of thousands of applications had not been properly submitted. The voter group supported a coalition that sued Kemp's office again in 2016 over the cancellation of nearly 35,000 registration applications from 2013 to 2016 due to mismatched information.
MY VOTE: NO. HB 268 would negatively impact reforms recently agreed to by the Secretary of State in the federal settlement of the "exact match" federal voting rights lawsuit and would likely lead to further expensive and time-consuming litigation. Furthermore, it likely violates the First Amendment, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the National Voter Registration Act.
MY VOTE: NO. Voters of color are facing increased inconvenience by repeated shifts in their districts, in order to accommodate diminished GOP voting strength. With each redrawing of the lines, voters of color are shifted to new legislators and divided from neighbors.
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2020 Presidential Democratic Primary Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Larry Hogan (D-MD)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
2020 GOP and Independent Candidates:
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
Gov.Bill Weld (L-MA)
CEO Howard Schultz (I-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (L-MD)
2020 Withdrawn Candidates:
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
About Stacey Abrams: