Ensure everyone trusts the system, and it's worthy of that
ABRAMS: I think it's always dangerous to undermine the integrity of elections without evidence. When we challenged voter suppression, we were able to prove it, we were able to correct for it in many ways, and that's why we saw a dramatic increase in
turnout from 2018 to 2020 where more voters were able to cast their ballots and have those ballots counted. my mission is to ensure that everyone trusts the system and that we make certain that it's a system that's worthy of that trust.
Source: ABC This Week interview for 2022 Georgia gubernatorial race
, Jan 3, 2021
Only obligation we have is make sure every vote is counted
It's important for us to recognize that no one is entitled to victory. The only obligation we have is to ensure that every voter has the right to have their voice heard. I never challenged the outcome of the election. I challenged the system that denied
access to the right to vote. I find it very troubling that, instead of fighting to make certain that every voter can have their vote counted, that they're challenging in an attempt to declare victory for someone who clearly lost the election.
Source: CNN State of the Union on 2022 Georgia Gubernatorial race
, Jan 3, 2021
You don't win county by county; you win person by person
What I remind people of is that in the statewide election, you don't win county by county. You win person by person. And that's what we've been doing. Fair Fight has been willing to invest millions of dollars into organizations,
smaller groups, that have been doing the grassroots organizing and mobilizing that it's going to take to win. And we are very hopeful and very determined to do so.
Source: Meet the Press interview on 2022 Georgia gubernatorial race
, Jan 3, 2021
Fair Fight Georgia helped Biden and Democratic Senate
Stacey Abrams' political future is the subject of intense speculation after she helped turn Georgia blue for President-elect Joe Biden. A gubernatorial primary will take place to unseat Republican Gov. Brian Kemp; Abrams is considered to be the presumed
frontrunner for the nomination.
Since her first governor run in 2018, Abrams has since escalated her organizing and mobilizing efforts with Fair Fight, the group she founded in the aftermath of that election, and offered a strong closing pitch to
voters to "make a plan to vote early" leading up to Nov. 3.
"One of the ways we were able to flip Georgia was because I have been working on it for ten years," Abrams went on. "I know the work we did across this country through Fair Fight 2020 made
certain we had enough states that flipped back that we could work together to make certain Joe Biden became president, and now I'm focused on getting the last piece across the finish line, and that is the U.S. Senate race on January 5th in Georgia."
Convincing Americans not to trust the government was the first step. For decades, Congressional Republicans have executed the second step by stripping crucial bureaucracies of funding. The third step has been replacing scientific fact with profit-
driven opinion. [For example, with] climate change deniers, modern conservative ideology has rejected research as a necessary ingredient for decision making.
The weakening of our public administration infrastructure has reached its pinnacle in the
Trump administration. Trump and his cabinet have consistently derided the very institutions they lead. Americans have become inured to the churn of cabinet officials and staff officials and staff departures. Trump's steady stream lies has half
of the country turning a deaf ear and the other half ingesting false information. Trump's actions have built on the GOP's intentional destruction of institutions, and has left America weakened in a time of international crisis.
We don't lose gun rights by non-use; why voting rights?
The "use it or lose it" [voter policy] presumes that a failure to execute a right justifies taking it away. In 44 states, voters who failed to respond to a notice will be removed from the registration list if they do not vote, update their registration,
or take some other action specified by law from the time of the notice through two general federal election. No other right specified by our constitution permits the loss of a vote for failure to use it, to wit-- I do not lose my Second Amendment
right if I choose not to go hunting and I still have freedom of religion if I skip church now and then.
Georgia secretary of state Brian Kemp strongly favored the "use it or lose it" power in Georgia, where he removed over 1.4 million voters in a
state with 6 million registered users. In July 2017, he removed more than half a million voters in a single day, reducing the number of registered voters in Georgia by 8%. An estimated 107,000 of these voters were removed through "use it or lose it".
Incumbents abuse system to keep out black election winners
Dr. Nancy Dennard was an African American speech pathologist who had run twice for the school board in Quitman, Georgia. But when a special election came up in 2009, Dr. Dennard studied the rules and put them to use to increase absentee voters for the
black voters, and it worked Dr. Dennard won a special election to the board.
For the 2010 primary for other available schoolboard seats, she recruited more black women to run, and she trained them and a committed group of organizers on the laws of
absentee ballots. Once again, the strategy succeeded. A handful of black women got elected to The Brooks County School Board, and control of the board flipped.
Angered by the unexpected wins, a vanquished school board banded together to challenge
the legitimacy of the new states electoral wins . They simply tried to undo the election [by pressing charges]
Years passed before their criminal trials commenced, and in the end, no voter fraud had occurred [and Dr. Dennard ended up as Mayor].
Voter impersonation found 31 cases out of a billion
Voter fraud has been debunked as exceptionally rare by multiple reputable organizations. Voter fraud refers typically to:
impersonating another voter or
a non resident or ineligible voter effectively casting a vote.
The former almost never
happens; in fact, an American is more likely to be struck by lightning than to impersonate a voter. To be more specific, out of 1 billion votes cast between 2000 and 2014, only 31 instances of voter impersonation occurred. As to non-resident voting, the
most reasonable explanation is voter confusion. In the US, we have 51 different democracies in operation between individual state laws and federal laws. For example, if a person moves from Maine to Oklahoma, the rules change dramatically with regard to
registration timing, eligibility, and remedies. National experts barely understand the complexity of local voting laws-how would the average person? Fraud is a crime of intent. Most accusations of voter fraud are best described as misunderstandings.
Republicans have targeted early voting operations that have helped increase voter participation, to their apparent dismay. In North Carolina, following Barack Obama's successful 2008 campaign, Republicans slashed early voting from 17 to 10 days and
curbed or eliminated Sunday voting due to popularity of "souls to the polls" campaigns that encouraged black voters to turn out en masse after church. Florida Republicans responded to the wide use of early voting by cutting from 14 to 8 days after the
2012 election. Wisconsin eliminated early voting hours at night and on the weekends: the precise times used by low income and minority voters. For Ohio's GOP majority, the cuts to access included chopping off six days of in-person early voting,
jettisoning Sundays and evenings, and eliminating early voting the day before the election.
Policy makers who propose these cuts have a standard playbook. First, point to the costs of early voting and then appeal to the fear of voter fraud.
Holiday for Election Day, or paid time off to vote
One option is to make election day a national holiday. Of the 36 nations in the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development, a consortium of democratic countries from around the globe, the US is one of only 7 nations that hold national
elections on a day when most of the country is at work; 27 of those countries hold national elections on the weekend, and both Israel and South Korea designate election day as a national holiday. Only 22 American states offer paid leave for voting.
Low income voters could lose pay on that day if they are not otherwise compensated for holidays. Likewise, disabled voters may have difficulty securing support to get them to the polls. Another option is guaranteed paid time off on election day, with
employees having the option to choose when they cast their vote, including during early voting periods. A minimum of five hours of paid time off for voting purposes would guarantee compensation for travel time and long lines at polling sites.
Electoral College protected slaveholders, not small states
The Electoral College was never meant to protect the small states against the tyranny of larger ones--not at its inception and not today. Instead, it served to protect slaveholders from a loss of power then and to advantage a small coterie
of states deemed competitive today.
[In 2016], I cosponsored a bill to include the state of Georgia in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Under the system, each state agrees that all its electoral votes will be allocated to the winner of
the popular vote, but the compact only takes effect after a certain number of states--comprising the majority of the electoral votes--agrees. As Georgia is one of the states long ignored by presidential contests, my Republican cosponsor and
I moved the bill successfully through the statehouse on a bipartisan vote, but the bill died in the state senate. Later that year, Donald Trump won the electoral college vote while losing the popular vote by more than three million ballots cast.
Abrams was on a television talk show when she advocated that "she wants to 'go around the Constitution' to end 'racist' Electoral College . because she thinks we '[don't] have time' to wait for a constitutional amendment." A posting from the
show, "The View," noted "@staceyabrams explains why she says the electoral college is a 'classist racist system whose time has passed and we need to get rid of it.'"
Source: WorldNetDaily blog on 2020 Veepstakes
, Feb 19, 2020
The electoral college is racist and classist
The electoral college is racist and classist. The electoral college was designed to give Southern states the ability to count the bodies of slaves but not have to allow them to cast votes. In the North, they didn't believe that immigrants and
those not well-educated should be making decisions about who the executive of our nation should be. It was a combination of racism and classism. Both of those things should be flung to the far reaches of history and the electoral college needs to go.
Source: National Press Club Remarks: 2022 Georgia Governor election
, Nov 15, 2019
Elections are rigged when poor communities' voting hindered
In elections, our nation has fought a lifelong battle about who gets to have any say in the outcome--and set the terms of the next battle. Race, gender, and sex have been constant markers of access, beginning with the Constitution.
My election was no different. Poor communities found themselves without equipment for voting, including missing power cords and antiquated machines.
Other voters arrived at their polling stations only to be turned away because they'd been illegally purged or because the poll workers didn't have enough paper for extra ballots.
Some stood in hour-long lines, while their compatriots had to give up and go back to work or risk a family's already meager paycheck. This is how the game of elections gets rigged.
Investigated for registering 86,000 voters in one year
In 2014, I raised more than $3.5 million, and we submitted more than 86,000 voter applications to the state for processing. Which was when the new Georgia plan was placed under investigation by the secretary of state, who questioned how our organization
could have registered so many people of color in such a short span of time without some misconduct. Yet, of the voter registration applications we submitted, an estimated 40,000 registration forms were missing from the rolls on election day. For the
next two years, my team and I would battle not only the accusations of the state, but also questions from our allies about what had transpired. Eventually, we proved the secretary of state had illegally cancelled 35,000 registrations, including ours,
and no wrongdoing had occurred on our side of the process. The secretary of state closed his investigation, admitting we had done nothing illegal. Better still, we've already registered more than 200,000 of our voters on the way to the 800,000 voters.
Register 75,000 out of 800,000 unregistered people of color
In the winter of 2013, Georgia had more than 800,000 unregistered people of color--a community the size of South Dakota who who did not have the legal ability to vote despite being eligible. Politicians discussed how distressed they were by the sheer
number. Finally, I decided to launch a non-profit voter registration effort to target these potential voters, whose decisions could shift the balance of power in the state if they participated en masse. My plan to register 75,000 potential voters in 2014
Source: Lead from the Outside, by Stacey Abrams, p. 54
, Mar 26, 2019
Fair Fight: Bedrock guarantee of right to vote
None of our ambitions are possible without the bedrock guarantee of our right to vote. Let's be clear: voter suppression is real. From making it harder to register and stay on the rolls to moving and closing polling places to rejecting lawful ballots,
we can no longer ignore these threats to democracy.
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.
Federal shutdowns are a stunt: furloughs hurt workers
Just a few weeks ago, I joined volunteers to distribute meals to furloughed federal workers. They waited in line for a box of food and a sliver of hope since they hadn't received a paycheck in weeks. Making their livelihoods a pawn for political
games is a disgrace. The shutdown was a stunt engineered by the President of the United States, one that defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people--but our values.
Source: Democratic response to 2019 State of the Union speech
, Feb 5, 2019
Deliberate interference & disenfranchisement in `18 election
Q: Stacey Abrams acknowledged that Republican Brian Kemp will be the next governor of Georgia:
[VIDEO CLIP] ABRAMS: This is not a speech of concession, because concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true, or proper.[END VIDEO]
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.
Q: When Brian Kemp was secretary of state, he did oversee a process in which 1.5 million voters were removed from the voting rolls. But isn't that just people being removed from the rolls because of inactivity?
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.
Sued in 2016 to stop "exact match" on voter registration
Q: Let me ask you about an issue that's been front and center for your campaign over the last week to 10 days. And that is this issue of rejected voter registration forms due to this issue of exact match. If it isn't an exact match, then suddenly the
registration gets thrown out. 70% of these registrations belong to African American voters. Do you believe this is an intentional decision by your opponent and the office that he runs?
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.
Raising campaign funds asks others to invest in your vision
One of the most significant impediments for women running for office, particularly women of color, is the ability and willingness to raise money. We don't believe we can because we rarely see women of color who do.
And we shy away because we do not like the sensation of asking, perhaps somehow thinking we are searching for charity. In politics specifically, raising campaign dollars is about asking others to invest in your vision and your values.
We don't get to keep the money and public reports keep that from happening. In my race, I out raised my opponents $127,000 to $13,000 combined.
My capacity to fundraise helped me move quickly in the political arena and eventually win the post of minority leader.
Protect voter's rights against voter suppression tactics
As Minority Leader, Stacey fought back voter suppression tactics and introduced legislation to expand access to the ballot. Through the New Georgia Project, Stacey registered more than 200,000 people of color, forced the restoration of
33,000 illegally canceled voter applications, and defeated attempts to intimidate voters. As Governor, she will oppose policies that seek to undermine the rights of Georgians.
Source: 2018 Georgia Governor website StaceyAbrams.com
, Aug 17, 2017
Founded voter registration project
Dedicated to civic engagement, she founded the
New Georgia Project, which registered more than 200,000 voters of color between 2014 and 2016.
Source: 2018 Georgia Governor website StaceyAbrams.com
, Aug 17, 2017
Head of a voter registration group; focus on minorities
Republican Brian Kemp, who as secretary of state is Georgia's top elections official, and Democrat Stacey Abrams, the House minority leader and head of a voter registration group, have long sparred over election policy.
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.
HB 268: Seeks to void a recent federal court settlement requiring the Secretary of State to refine its voter registration process to exclude the "exact matching" process that led to the unlawful cancellation more than 30,000 voter registration
applications since 2013. The bill would also require non-partisan voter information groups and Election Protection groups providing to move their tables or booths beyond the 150 foot barrier and at least 25 feet away from voters standing in
line--depending upon the length and location of lines of voters throughout the course of Election Day.
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.
Stop redistricting voters of color to dilute their votes
HB 515: This bill amends the boundaries of multiple House legislative districts. Of most concern, the new map packs African-American voters from Republican HD 40 into heavily Democratic HD 53.
In HD 111, the revised maps continue a process initiated in 2015 to dilute black votes by shifting voters into adjacent districts and by adding white voters to the district in 2017.
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.