Presidential hopeful Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) promulgated the unfounded claim that failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams would have won her election had it not been for racist voter suppression.
“The truth is, we have Republican legislatures across this country that are trying to deny black people the right to vote,” Gillibrand said at a National Urban League conference on Thursday. “Just look at what happened in Georgia. Look what happened to Stacey Abrams.”
“But for voter disenfranchisement, Stacey Abrams would be the governor of Georgia,” she continued.
Now-Gov. Brian Kemp handily won the 2018 statewide election by more than 55,000 votes, however, Abrams and her campaign have routinely accused Kemp of racist voter suppression going back even prior to election day.
Following Abrams’ loss, she appeared regularly on cable news shows and delivered speeches repeating those assertions, but there has been no evidence to corroborate Abrams’ claims of voter suppression.
She has refused to refer to Kemp as the “legitimate” governor and has repeatedly declined to concede the election because, she stated, a concession implies the race was “right and true and proper.”
“We had this little election back in 2018 and despite the final tally and the inauguration and the situation we find ourselves in, I do have one very affirmative statement to make: we won,” Abrams said in April. “I am not the governor of Georgia — remember I told you about my opponent? You see not only was he the secretary of state, he was also the architect of suppression.”
Following the election, Abrams and her voter initiative Fair Fight Action sued the state of Georgia over alleged widespread voter suppression. Interestingly, the lawsuit condemns legislation that Abrams herself helped pass as a member of the Georgia General Assembly.
Gillibrand referenced Abrams when she was asked if she would commit to expanding voting rights legislation if she won the presidency in 2020.
“Yes, very hard yes,” the New York senator responded. “And this reason is this: I’ve been working with [Rep.] John Lewis (D-GA) in the U.S. Senate for the last five or six years on a comprehensive approach to fixing the voting rights in this country.”
Gillibrand asserted that the legislation she has been crafting with Lewis goes beyond merely ending voter suppression, vote dilution, and vote discrimination — claiming that it also restores the Voting Rights Act preclearance provision that was invalidated in the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case of Shelby County v. Holder.
“Our plan has those things that you just mentioned specifically,” Gillibrand said. “But also things like make election day a federal holiday, guarantee early voting in all states, guaranteeing vote by mail in all states, making sure that we have the resources in every state to have a paper receipt so the next time the Russians try to hack our election and try to undermine our democracy, we can fight back with real paper receipts and paper ballots.”
“So I have a very comprehensive approach about how to restore our voting rights,” she added.