Failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams stated on Sunday that the American voting system is rigged against African American citizens and has only become more “insidious” since the 1960s.
“We have always struggled with voter suppression, but what’s happened in the last 20 years is that it’s gone underground,” Abrams told ABC news correspondent Linsey Davis. “It’s no longer hoses and laws that say you cannot vote.”
“It is this insidious nature that says it’s race-neutral, that we’re just putting these laws into place for everyone,” she continued. “But we know that it has a disproportionate effect on the communities that have long been marginalized.”
Abrams and her 2018 gubernatorial campaign have been routinely accusing both the state of Georgia and her Republican challenger, now-Gov. Brian Kemp of racist voter suppression going back even prior to election day. Kemp, however, handily won the statewide election by more than 55,000 votes and there has been no evidence to corroborate her claims.
“We have a right to vote in the United States that is afforded to eligible American citizens, but we have seen over the last 20 years a constriction on who has the right to use that right,” Abrams replied when asked if she believes the voting system is “rigged.”
“We have seen it through voter ID laws – you can’t get on the rolls and if you get on the rolls you can’t stay – you may not be able to cast your ballot because they close your precinct or they change the rules,” she continued. “That’s rigging the game.”
Interestingly, Abrams and her fellow Democrats have continued to tout the proposal to close off a handful of voting precincts in a predominately black county as an example of Republican-led voter suppression. If enacted, the closure could have led to possible disenfranchisement. However, the decision to do so rested solely in Democrats’ hands.
Regardless, Abrams has insisted that since Kemp was serving as Georgia Secretary of State at the time, the blame ultimately rests with him. Kemp and the Georgia GOP both publicly opposed the closure, but Abrams continues to refer to it as “suppression tactics.”
“In America, we can choose to vote or not vote. Good candidates give you a reason to vote, but good government makes certain you can cast that vote,” Abrams told Davis. “What I take exception to is that we do not have people in government who are living up to their obligations. In fact, they are thwarting the will of the people by denying them access and that’s just wrong.”
The former Georgia lawmaker revealed a week earlier that she would forgo running for president in favor of focusing her efforts on preventing voter suppression in the upcoming 2020 election, both in Georgia and around the country.
Accordingly, Abrams launched a new initiative called Fair Fight 2020 to establish “free, fair, and secure elections.” Despite how it presents itself, its focus appears to be to elect Democratic lawmakers rather than a non-partisan effort to ensure universal voting rights. The organization will only be working with Democratic state parties and local allies, according to the Fair Fight 2020 website.
“When I looked at this current crop of candidates running for the Democratic nomination, I think they’re extraordinary and I think voter suppression is an intrinsic problem that is bigger than just Georgia,” Abrams said. “Georgia was emblematic of it and certainly was a singularity in terms of how grotesque the process was, but we’re not alone.”
“For me, the decision not to run for president was one of saying ‘where can I do my best work’ and that’s making certain that we set up protection teams across the country,” she added.