Stacey Abrams’ tireless post-Election Day campaign to get every possible vote in Georgia counted isn’t just about trying to win the governorship today. Her fight is also exposing the true breadth of the damage done to the state’s democracy by her opponent, former Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
We knew about the 1.6 million voters he erased from the system over his two terms, the largest such purge in American history. We knew about the ridiculous lawsuit he filed days before the election. We knew about the over 50,000 people he wanted to ban from voting with trapdoor inanities. And on Election Day, we saw how he abused voters by throttling the number of voting machines in largely minority districts. Now comes word about the absentee ballots sent out late by his office, his efforts to throw out provisional ballots, and Kemp’s continued legal battles against counting votes.
No matter what happens in this election, we’re seeing that democracy is on a respirator in Georgia and that a whole lot has to change if we’re going to bring it back to life. That starts with replacing Brian Kemp as Secretary of State with Democrat John Barrow, who will compete in a runoff election for the position on December 4th.
Barrow, a former Congressman from 2005-2015, was initially bumped from office due to the last administration’s gross gerrymandering of Georgia, so he knows full well just how much power the state government can wield. His platform is a stark contrast to that of his GOP opponent, Brad Raffensperger, who wants to keep on purging voters and forcing others to conform to strict ID laws that make it so tough to cast a ballot (and even tougher to have it actually count). Barrow would make it easier to vote; Raffensperger wants to disenfranchise everyone he can.
“It shouldn’t be easier to get kicked off the rolls if you’re a registered voter, a citizen entitled to vote, than it is to have your water turned off,” Barrow told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution late last month. “It’s just as bad to kick somebody off the rolls who has a right to participate and has done nothing wrong as it is to let somebody in who has no business voting.”
Georgia is in the middle of a massive population shift, making it more likely to vote in Democrats than ever before — it already provided several big upsets in this year’s Congressional elections. But that can’t happen if citizens aren’t allowed to vote. Even without the partisanship angle, an assault on democracy is an assault on us all, and Georgia has a chance to stand up to anti-voting goons next month. Let’s help them out and stand with them as they fight for their future — and ours.
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