To say that Georgia’s role in shaping the 2020 election and the overall makeup of Congress itself would be an understatement. Georgia organizations like Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight, The New Georgia Project, and Georgia Fund help push the state blue. The state also won two Senate seats for Reps. Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Without that slim majority for Democrats, the American Rescue Plan most likely wouldn’t have passed–leaving small businesses and families struggling.
Black voter turnout was vital in these victories, but since then, we’ve been staring down the threats of Republican opposition in Congress, lack of movement with voting rights legislation, and an onslaught of voting restricting laws passed on the state level. Including right in Georgia; where that Governor Brian Kemp signed back in March. It’s a funny coincidence that Black people use their right to vote and all of a sudden, this care for “election integrity” comes up.
Stacey Abrams announced that she will be running for governor for a second time in 2022. In an interview with the Associated Press, Abrams reiterated how crucial passing laws protecting the right to vote would be:
“Starting in January, when legislators come back into 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 do believe there’s a way to restore the Senate to a working body so that things like defending democracy can actually take place.”
It would smart to heed Abrams’ call. Abrams only lost by about 55,000 votes to Kemp in their first governor election head-to-head in 2018. Now, listen to a couple of new items in the Georgia bill and tell me who it will hurt the most:
- Sharply limit the use of ballot drop boxes
- Other than poll workers, it criminalizes giving out food and water to people in long lines
- Extend voter ID requirements to absentee ballots
Abrams further outlined her wishes for Georgia here:
“This is a state that is on the cusp of greatness. But we have high income inequality; we have low graduation rates relative to our capacity; we have a broken 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.”
Gov. Kemp tried to explain the new law away in an 11-minute bit of word salad. Georgia has changed considerably from four years ago and given her contributions in fighting voting suppression, it would be a damn shame if these same things kept Abrams from gaining the governorship in Georgia. Inaction would be a terrible message to Black women across the country who continue to form and power these progressive movements for change.