Election 2020

Stacey Abrams Continues Her Ridiculous Framing of 'Voter Suppression'

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks during the National Action Network Convention in New York, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Rumor has it that also-ran Stacey Abrams is no longer on Joe Biden’s shortlist. This most likely means she will continue to denigrate the people in her home state of Georgia as a bunch of racist, Jim Crow-loving Confederates. She did an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” and discussed looking at police funding following the police-involved shooting of Rayshard Brooks and her favorite voter suppression meme.

As usual, her framing of both of these issues is specifically structured to push her preferred narratives. Oddly, Stephanopoulos injected a little truth into the discussion, which was shocking.

Rayshard Brown

In her comments about the Brown shooting, Abrams said he was shot for falling asleep in his car. She did admit he took the officer’s taser but neglected to mention that Brown turned and pointed it at the officers. One was already on the ground and if the other had been incapacitated it could have become a far worse scene.

For a stop that began as routine and cordial, it turned bad very quickly. It is not a clear-cut case of police brutality or racism as Abrams posits. What it looks like to me is a series of unfortunate choices by Brown and a decision made by the officer in less than three seconds. This shooting is no way analogous to what happened in Minneapolis, no matter how much Abrams would like to link the two for political purposes.

Abrams says this is why we need to look at how we fund the police and then she tap dances about what “defund the police” means. How about a different idea? Don’t pass laws you don’t want police to enforce. Eric Garner would not have died if police officers had not been enforcing the state’s sin tax.

Brown’s death might not have occurred if we handled drunk driving stops differently. Maybe get the individual home safely, impound the car, and issue an appearance ticket? We can be creative and keep officers and the public safe.

Georgia 2020 Primary

Then the interview turned to Abrams’ favorite topic: Georgia elections. As a resident of Georgia, I can honestly say I have never lived in a state where it’s easier to register and to vote. But she lives under the delusion, at least publicly, that the 2016 gubernatorial race was stolen from her and has made evidence-free claims of voter suppression.

Voting statistics in Georgia actually point to the opposite. The share of minority voters has grown significantly in the last decade as options to register and voting methods have been expanded.

On the day of the delayed primary in Georgia, there were issues. Specifically, there were issues in Democrat-controlled counties, like Fulton, that have had issues for years. Stephanopoulos correctly pointed this out. Abrams immediately reframed this as a statewide problem.

See, what Abrams likes to ignore is that in Georgia, elections are run at the county level. County boards of elections determine the number and location of voting sites. They also recruit and train election workers.

For the primary, the secretary of state’s office actually did what they could to maximize the participation of voters in the state during a pandemic. Weeks before the delayed primary, where in-person voting was allowed, every registered voter received an invitation to request an absentee ballot by mail or online.

Georgia also has weeks of early voting. For the June 9 primary, registered voters could begin voting in person on May 18. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger encouraged voters to take advantage of absentee ballots. His advice was echoed by the Fulton County Board of Elections:

Fulton County elections officials are working to protect the health of our voters and poll workers, as we try to limit the length of wait times for in person voters,” said Fulton County Elections Supervisor Richard Barron. “Fulton County voters should consider submitting absentee ballots by mail from the safety of their own homes.”

Less than a week before the primary, over 1 million Georgia voters chose to vote early or submit absentee ballots. In fact, 80% of early votes were done by mail through absentee voting. It would seem the efforts of the secretary of state and the county boards were effective as unofficial results show that 1,895,010 votes have been counted in the presidential primary with 95.6% of precincts reporting.

If Abrams would like to increase voter participation, perhaps she should work directly with the problematic counties to improve communication and process. Supposedly her selling point to Biden was her knowledge on how to get out the vote. Maybe she should use those skills to help counties like Fulton. Voter suppression in Georgia is not a thing. Poorly run elections at the county level are.

Abrams even asserted the following:

“Voter suppression is [Republicans’] playbook because without it — there is no path to victory for Republicans and no future for Donald Trump.”

Weird statement. President Trump has received 910,000 votes in an unopposed primary. Joe Biden got 833,419. Abrams may want to recalculate her assumptions. The rest of us can hope she ceases to be a media darling when she is not selected by Biden.