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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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More than six months later and Democrats continue to be haunted by Stacey Abrams’ razor-thin loss to become governor of Georgia–and the first African American woman elected governor anywhere in the nation.
What so angers Democrats is what they see as systemic suppression of African American voters in that election, on the part of Republican Brian Kemp who simultaneously served as the GOP candidate for governor and as secretary of state in a position to oversee his own election.
“Stacey Abrams ought to be the governor of Georgia. When racially motivated voter suppression is permitted, when districts are drawn so that politicians get to choose their voters instead of the other way around, when money is allowed to outvote people in this country, we cannot truly say we live in a democracy,” said Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Ind., and one of nearly two dozen Democrats running for president.
Among the irregularities flagged as voter suppression in Georgia’s 2018 gubinatorial election were 3,000 people who were wrongly flagged by the state as being ineligible to vote, and 53,000 voter registrations were delayed by Kemp’s office without adequately notifying the applicant.
In the end, Kemp was elected governor by a margin of less than 55,000 votes over Abrams out of approximately 3.9 million in total cast.
“I think that we all have to make our own decisions. And I can’t begin to — to speak for what her decision-making is. I know that she’ll do what she thinks is best for herself,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) said of Abrams and Abrams’ future. “But I think the reality is that suppression is real. But more importantly, we can’t stay home and we can’t rely on thin margins. We have to get more people registered to vote. We have to actually turn out more people to vote. Because when you rely on thin margins, then there is always going to be a question on — on what could have happened, but we have to put the work in and people have to recognize that elections matter. When you look at the thin margin of the last presidential election, and you look at where our country is now, it matters.
“My race for mayor in Atlanta almost 100,000 votes cast, 832 votes made the difference,” Bottoms said. “And so I think if we register, continue to register more people and turn out more people to vote, then I think that you’ll — you’ll clearly see that Georgia is blue again.”