Stacey Abrams speaks with Solomon Jones

Stacey Abrams pours the sting of loss into making sure others can vote

When I spoke to former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams about the perils voters might face in the upcoming presidential election, two words kept coming back to me: voter suppression.

Abrams, a lawyer who rose to become minority leader during her decade in Georgia’s House of Representatives, resigned in 2017 to run for governor. Her campaign was a long shot. After all, a Black woman couldn’t possibly become governor of Georgia, where Confederate generals are carved into a mountain and the legacy of slavery is carved into the soil.

Yet, by October 2018, Abrams, a Democrat, was polling slightly ahead of her Republican opponent, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Abrams was in the midst of a potentially history-making political feat. There was just one thing standing between Abrams and her unlikely victory: voter suppression.

“We know that the secretary of state, my opponent in the race, had spent eight years in the role of oversight of the election and during his tenure,” Abrams told me. “He purged more than 1.4 million voters, he oversaw the closure of 214 precincts, which according to independent analysis meant that between 50 and 85,000 people physically could not reach a place to vote.”

Click here to read the full column in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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