STACEY ABRAMS ON VOTER SUPPRESSION

In 2018, after a decade serving in Georgia’s state legislature, Abrams became the first black woman to ever win a major party’s nomination for governor.

She was defeated by Republican **Brian Kemp,** who held onto his seat as Georgia’s secretary of state while running, allowing Kemp to allegedly [purge tens of thousands of mostly Democratic from the rolls, [among other dubious Abrams, a lawyer and a prolific romance novelist, has bounced back by founding Fair Fight Action, a voting-rights nonprofit, and [raising millions for poor waiting on federal pandemic stimulus checks.

You have these bright marks of progress in states like Washington and Oregon, that have taken affirmative steps to expand access to the [voting] franchise.

At the exact same time, we’ve seen the crumbling edifice of democracy in states that are aggressively attempting to block access with impediments that don’t challenge voters’ eligibility, they challenge their fortitude.

Texas shut down a number of polling stations in its primary, and it narrowly and directly affected Black and Brown voters.

You have states like Georgia, where we watched the ineptitude and the deliberate indifference and malfeasance of the secretary of state, who permitted eight-hour lines and refused to take any responsibility.

We are reaffirming the experiment now, but we are also seeing some terrible examples of the original flaw in our design, which is that we have delegated to the states the ability to determine not eligibility, but access.

Part of what I want people to understand is that it’s going to take time to have the answer to the November 3 election.

**In 2018 you were the victim of voter suppression, in the race for governor of Georgia.

I was able to approach this issue in a different way because of my loss, but I don’t think there was a benefit, because one of the greatest ways to effect voter suppression is to end it, and had I become governor, it would have continued to be a major push of mine.

When I think of young women, of people of color, and particularly Black folks, we don’t get asked this question, so I’m not going to pretend, I’m not going to demur, and I’m not going to pretend coyness because that’s been the practice.

As a Black woman, I am never going to allow there to be a question about my capacity, because anything other than an affirmative answer is going to be presumed to be that I’m not qualified and that others who look like me or share my characteristics by extension are also disqualified.

But we shouldn’t be disingenuous and not recognize that there are going to be populations, like young Black voters, who are going to require particular attention and specific investment, especially about how their recovery from COVID-19 will be addressed.

I intend to build on the relationship I’ve built with these communities, not just here in Georgia, but across the country, to help bolster [Biden’s] candidacy and to reassure them that their turnout is vital not only to our national success, but to meeting this moment of anger and pain.

**Your first high-profile political moment came as a college freshman in Atlanta, when you participated in burning a Georgia state flag in protest of it including the Confederate battle emblem.

And it was the perfect encapsulation of how so many Black people feel in this country every day.

When Donald Trump refuses to acknowledge the deaths that his incompetence is creating, when law enforcement refuses to take responsibility when their actions stray from protection and become murder, when the failure to have any sense of justice for Ahmaud Arbery for 74 days—what we saw on the face of **Derek Chauvin** is what so many people experience every day as part of their lives: the disregard.

I’m also going to work to make sure that we elect District Attorneys and state legislatures and mayors who actually do the work of the people.

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