Stacey Abrams calls for action for the right to vote in Congress ahead of second gubernatorial race in Georgia
DECATUR, Ga. (AP) – Stacey Abrams, who has built her national reputation by defending the right to vote, calls on Congress to take action on federal voting rules as the Democrat launches a second candidacy for governor of Georgia.
Senators, including Georgian Democrat Raphael Warnock, a close ally of Abrams, have argued in recent days that the Senate must try again on federal voting standards, despite previous setbacks.
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Abrams said senators must override Republican opposition to new federal voting guarantees by weakening the legislative obstruction blocking legislation to allow the simple majority of Democrats to pass new rules. Otherwise, Abrams said, more Republican-dominated state legislatures nationwide will pass voting restrictions like Georgia did this year.
See: Amid outcry, Georgia governor signs bill restricting voting in law
From the archives (March 2021): Voting rights escalate as partisan battleground, Democrats pushing HR 1, Republicans altering state-level election procedures
Also (March 2021): Raphael Warnock Says Republican Efforts to Change Voting Practices in Georgia and Other States Represent Jim Crow’s Revanchism
President Joe Biden, who spent four decades in the United States Senate and has long been seen as a strong advocate of House traditions, this week signaled a shift in his thinking on filibuster.
In response to a question from ABC News’s David Muir in a broad interview, the President first gave his support for an exclusion from the right to vote for obstruction, just as happened with nominations to the federal judiciary and later the Supreme Court. A bipartisan deal was also reached this month to suspend the filibuster and allow Democrats to lift the federal debt ceiling without forcing Republicans to vote for the measure.
“Starting in January, when lawmakers return to session in 2022, we’re going to see a maelstrom of voter suppression laws. I understand the resistance to completely dismantling the filibuster. But I believe there is a way to restore the Senate to a working body so that things like defending democracy can actually take place. “
Abrams narrowly lost to Republican Brian Kemp in 2018 after becoming the first black woman to run for governor of a major party. She claims Kemp used her job as secretary of state to unfairly tip the scales in her favor by doing things like purging voters from the lists. Kemp, who accused Democrats of hacking in the wake of what experts later determined to be planned security tests of electoral systems and amid reports of potential system vulnerabilities, denies committing any crimes. wrongdoing.
The loss of Abrams and her response, including the formation of a new voting group called Fair Fight, propelled her to national prominence among Democrats.
Archives (November 2018): Georgia’s Kemp accuses Democrats of hacking; Abrams dismisses allegation as a distraction
More (January 2020): Election security expert claims Georgia server exposed to public appears to have been hacked
This year, Republicans passed a new election law in Georgia that, among other things, reduces the number of days to request a postal ballot, shortens early voting before the second round, and limits drop boxes.
Democrats fear this will reduce their growing strength in Georgia, where President Joe Biden won the state’s 16 electoral votes, and then Warnock and fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff won the second round in January, giving control of the Senate American to their party.
See: Perdue de Georgia pursues loss of Senate seat to Ossoff a year ago
Republicans argue the law is fair to all and was necessary to restore confidence in the state’s elections after then-President Donald Trump’s fraud allegations inflamed many GOP voters. These allegations have been repeatedly refuted and rejected by the courts.
Abrams insists she can still win the Georgia election next year even if there is no change in her new law. “I will do everything in my power to ensure that these new onerous voter suppression laws do not effectively prevent voters from their right to vote,” she said. “And so yes, there is absolutely a way to win.”
Abrams said this path leads in a different direction from the traditional approach to politics taken by Southern Republicans, instead seeking to improve the prospects for those who don’t have a fair chance today.
“It’s a state that’s about to get big. But we have high income inequality; we have low graduation rates relative to our capacity; we have a failing public health infrastructure system,” Abrams said. “But we also have the ability, if we had good leadership, to invest in our communities, in all of our communities across the state.”
Republicans are rallying against this approach, saying it would undermine freedom and the economy in Georgia, and that Abrams is simply using Georgia as a springboard to run for president. Although she has said she would like to be president someday, Abrams is committed to serving a full term as governor.
In a heartbreaking attack on Kemp, Abrams argued that he had failed to recognize the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and was callous in his refusal to extend the Medicaid health insurance program to poor adults .
“Leadership is leading. It’s not about guessing and, more importantly, it’s not about abdicating responsibility by telling everyone to understand it, ”Abrams said. “If we wanted a system where everyone could understand it, we wouldn’t need to elect the governor. “
Kemp maintains he found the right balance between health and the economy during the pandemic. He noted that he has avoided unpopular lockdowns and that Georgia currently has record unemployment.
But with former Sen. David Perdue challenging Kemp in the Republican primary, Georgia’s governor contest in 2022 might not be an Abrams-Kemp rematch. Abrams said Thursday she would focus on her campaign, saying she didn’t know enough about Perdue to assess her record.
“I don’t really know what it is, and I’m someone who pays a lot of attention to politics,” Abrams said.
From the archives (March 2021): ‘One step back’: Coca-Cola joins Delta, one of Atlanta’s largest employers, in blasting Georgia’s new electoral barriers as undemocratic
Even though the polls on Biden and the Democrats have deteriorated from this summer, Abrams believes she can still win. She said part of it was because Georgia is different, with a population on the verge of becoming predominantly non-white, and because her approach is different, emphasizing “a Georgia” where she says ” I will talk to each community and I will have plans for each community.
Republicans, however, maintain that Abrams will never overcome the tide of anti-Democrat sentiment and hope to lure wayward white commuters into their homes, as well as drive out some African-American, Latino and Asian voters.
Abrams preaches patience to these communities.
“Winning an election is not a matter of magic,” she said. “Voting is not magic. It’s medicine. It takes time, it takes effort, it takes continuous investment.
The ground Abrams is campaigning on could change in other ways in the months to come. Congress plans to create a workaround to provide health insurance to more people in states that have refused to extend Medicaid to poor adults.
Expanding Medicaid benefits has been at the center of Democratic campaigns in Georgia for a decade. Abrams said she would celebrate if Congress expanded Medicaid, but said Georgia would still have a high uninsurance rate and a struggling public health system.
The United States Supreme Court could pave the way for Georgia to ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Adopted in 2019, the law is currently pending before a court of appeal. Abrams called it a “forced pregnancy bill.”
“I’m going to do everything in my power so that no woman is forced to put her family, herself or her life in danger, just to satisfy the political whims of a conservative man who never had to make that choice. she said.