‘Jim Crow in a suit and tie’: Stacey Abrams condemns slate of GOP voter suppression laws

Democratic civil rights activist has been credited with turning Georgia blue at the federal level

Griffin Connolly
Washington
Monday 15 March 2021 10:54
Comments
Stacey Abrams condemns slate of GOP voter suppression laws as 'Jim Crow in a suit and tie'

Democratic voting rights activist Stacey Abrams has condemned the voting legislation being passed by Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country as “racist” because it tends to target and outlaw voting practices that have directly correlated with higher minority turnout such as mail-in voting and early in-person voting.

Republican state lawmakers in 43 states have proposed more than 250 laws making it more onerous to cast a vote, an analysis from the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice has found. Those laws include curbing opportunities for Americans to cast ballots early and vote by mail; requiring stricter identification documents, which minority voters disproportionately have been able to produce in the past; and limiting hours at polling places and drop boxes on the streets.

“First of all I do absolutely agree that it's racist. It is a redux of Jim Crow in a suit and tie,” Ms Abrams said in an interview on Sunday with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“It's not that there was a question of security [in 2020],” Ms Abrams said, noting that Georgia’s GOP governor and secretary of state, as well as other Republican officials, went to “great pains” to ensure Georgians their 2020 election was not tainted with fraud.

“The only connection that we can find is that more people of colour voted, and it changed the outcome of elections in a direction that Republicans do not like,” Ms Abrams said.

Follow Trump and Biden news live: President speaks out on Cuomo

Ms Abrams, who was defeated by Republican Brian Kemp in Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial election, has been widely credited with encouraging and facilitating unprecedented Black voter participation in her state, helping flip the once ruby red Peach State blue in the 2020 presidential election and in both the Senate runoffs earlier this year.

The victories of Georgia Democratic Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in those runoffs cinched Democratic control of the Senate, allowing Joe Biden to pass his $1.9trn Covid relief package on a party-line basis.

Since her 2018 election defeat — which was marked by controversy and claims of voter suppression against Mr Kemp, who was the state’s top elections official at the time — Ms Abrams has worked with voting rights advocacy groups to enfranchise black Americans across the country.

Her own group, Fair Fight, was instrumental in pushing for expanded mail-in voting opportunities in last year’s elections amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Republicans backing the state-level efforts to curtail voting access have said the measures are necessary to fix a system they profess to believe was corrupted by fraud. That’s despite Trump-appointed leaders at the FBI and Justice Department saying there was no substantial level of fraud in any state that would have swung that state’s electoral count towards the other presidential candidate.

On Sunday, Ms Abrams outlined how curtailing certain voting practices would hinder Black turnout.

“Instead of celebrating better access and more participation” in 2020, Ms Abrams said, GOP lawmakers’ response has been to “eliminate access to voting [in] primarily communities of colour.”

She added: “There's a direct correlation between the usage of drop boxes, the usage of in-person early voting, especially on Sundays, and the use of vote by mail [with] the direct increase in the number of people of colour voting.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in