On Sunday, Stacey Abrams denounced Republican efforts to alter the current voting laws in Georgia and elsewhere. Abrams also claimed that there should be an exception to the filibuster in order for Democrat-supported election bills to pass the Senate.
Last week, The Daily Wire’s Tim Pearce reported on the details of the new GOP proposal in Georgia. It was introduced “to strengthen the state’s voter ID laws while putting limits on who may receive an absentee ballot.” The Georgia Senate passed the legislation last week, sending it back to the House where it is expected to be approved. Republican Governor Brian Kemp “has not signaled whether he intends to sign the legislation.” Republicans have claimed that election reform was needed in Georgia after last year’s elections when the state came under intense examination for its voting methods and many recounts.
Abrams appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” over the weekend where she was asked about the bill and others. She said that she agreed with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) recent statements about Georgia Republicans’ attempts to pass the bill, calling the moves “racist.”
The 2018 Georgia gubernatorial Democratic candidate told CNN host Jake Tapper, “We know that the only thing that precipitated these charges — it’s not that there was a question of security. In fact, the secretary and the governor went to great pains to assure America that Georgia elections were secure. And so the only connection that we can find is that more people of color voted and it changed the outcome of elections in a direction that Republicans do not like.”
Abrams is a vocal supporter of House bill H.R.1, which is headed to the Senate. The legislation would provide a massive revamp of election laws and increase voter registration and voting access. It passed the House with no Republican votes. On Sunday, Abrams spoke in favor of H.R.1 and other election bills introduced by House Democrats, telling Tapper that they are essential.
When asked about the role of the filibuster in passing the bills, Abrams spoke in favor of a filibuster exemption. She told Tapper, “I don’t believe that it’s necessary to wholly eliminate the filibuster to accomplish the purposes of passing these bills.
“Just as we have seen an exemption carved into the filibuster rules for judicial appointments, for cabinet appointments and for budget reconciliation, the protection for our democracy, especially in the wake of the insurrection on January 6 and it’s continued ripples throughout our state legislatures, it demands that the entire US Senate acknowledge that protection of democracy is so fundamental that it should be exempt from the filibuster rules,” Abrams said.
Abrams made the same claims when she appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. She told host Chuck Todd, “We know that the US Senate, much like the US House, has the sole responsibility under the elections clause of the US Constitution to regulate the time, place, and manner of elections. That is something that we have to accomplish. It would be best if it was done in concert with Republicans, as we have in times past, when we had to confront our demons and do better by our people. And my deep hope is that we can get it done.”
Abrams continued, “But I would say that an exemption to the filibuster for the purposes of protecting our democracy is not only logical, it is fundamental to who we are.”
Some have pointed out that getting rid of certain rules in the Senate based on one’s opinion about legislation that is up for a vote is not acceptable. Abrams’ claims about the elections clause in the US Constitution are also not entirely accurate. The constitution determines that the state’s legislatures are in charge of the times, places, and manner of elections. The federal government can change certain regulations, but the state is ultimately in control of how its elections are held.
Article I, Section 4, Clause 1 of the US Constitution states:
“The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.”
Legislatures controlled by Republicans in 43 states have recently introduced bills that focus on amending voting laws.
Last week, The Daily Wire reported that Abrams spoke harshly of Republican attempts to alter voting practices in Georgia and said Republicans were trying to suppress black voters. She told Mother Jones, “We are seeing again and again this version of Jim Crow in a suit and tie…it is designed explicitly for the same reason as Jim Crow did, to block communities of color from active participation in choosing the leadership that will guide their democracy.”
In November 2018, Abrams waited 10 days before accepting the results of the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election after she lost to Governor Brian Kemp by almost 55,000 votes. As reported by NPR, Abrams refused to concede, but acknowledged that Kemp “will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election.” Abrams claimed that Kemp had committed “deliberate and intentional” voter suppression.
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