Stacey Abrams, the Democratic pick for governor in this year’s Georgia elections, ripped incumbent Republican Brian Kemp for his record on voting rights.
During his term, Kemp has signed controversial new restrictions on voting into law including limits on using drop boxes for mail-in ballots and providing food or water to voters queued up at polling places, along with new voter ID rules for mail-in voting. The state previously relied on signature matching, which — if implemented consistently — is already strict and can penalize voters including disabled and elderly residents. Requiring voter ID for mail-in ballots despite the lack of any audit or recount finding a systematic integrity problem alongside the potentially overly aggressive implementation of signature matching could penalize otherwise eligible voters who might end up with some difficulty obtaining the required form of ID. What about elderly residents, low-income people, or others who could face difficulties with the process?
Georgia is seeing turnout in this year’s midterms already higher than turnout at this same point in 2018. “We know that people turned out early because they understand that Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger have put barriers in place, that they’re going to be denied access to food and water in lines that in years past have stretched up to four [or] eight hours,” Abrams said Saturday on MSNBC. “They know that there have been more difficulties put in place for absentee ballots, that white supremacist groups and hard right-wing groups have been challenging people’s right to vote. Up to 75,000 people have had their right to vote challenged because of the law passed by Brian Kemp, and he did so because he was frustrated by the results. He gets lionized for not committing treason… but it is even more efficient to block access to that election, and that’s been Brian Kemp’s modus operandi.”
“While we have been focused myopically on the spectacle of Donald Trump and his election denial and the chorus he’s been able to build, quietly men like Brian Kemp have been doing something even more insidious, and that is putting barriers in place to deny access,” Abrams added on MSNBC. “It’s a lot easier to game the outcome when nobody can show up… Suppression has never been about stopping all voters. It’s about clogging the arteries of the process and stopping certain voters.” Some have pointed to the high turnout levels in Georgia as ostensible evidence there’s actually no problem with voter suppression. Everyone — well, obviously not literally everyone, but many observers — no doubt remember how close Georgia was in 2020. Out of millions, just 10,000 votes can alter the course of the election.
Data from a political analytics firm TargetSmart estimates Democratic voters are leading Republicans in the early votes already cast in Georgia, and they’re also estimated to be outperforming their portion of the early vote at this point before the election in 2018. Besides the state’s race for governor, Georgians are also voting this year in a high-stakes race for Senate that — depending on how other races unfold — could decide control of the chamber. Republican contender Herschel Walker, who has no experience in elected office but has Trump’s support, has consistently although not overwhelmingly strong showings in polls from Georgia. He remains mired in personal scandal… which didn’t stop Trump. Unlike Donald, Walker has credited some of his issues to mental health concerns. His health record apparently includes dissociative identity disorder, about which he didn’t express a lot of concern during a debate.
Check out Abrams’s comments below: