Politics

Abrams Lawsuit Against Georgia Attacks Cuts to Early Voting, Which She Supported as State Lawmaker

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Defeated Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams' lawsuit against Georgia over the 2018 election attacks the state over restrictions to early voting, but she supported legislation in 2011 to reduce the early voting period in the state.

Abrams' group Fair Fight Action filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia over what it called the state's "grossly mismanaged" election system, following her loss to Republican Brian Kemp. Abrams vowed to take the state to court in a contentious speech on Nov. 16 acknowledging her defeat but calling Kemp's victory illegitimate and accusing the former secretary of state of systematic voter suppression.

Part 18 of the complaint states: "The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, a bipartisan, independent agency, found that among the states previously subject to preclearance by the Voting Rights Act, Georgia was the only state that had implemented voting restrictions in every category the Commission examined: strict requirements for voter identification; documentary proof of U.S. citizenship; purges of voters from voter registration rolls; cuts to early voting; and a raft of closed or relocated polling locations."

Regarding the "cuts to early voting," in 2011, the Georgia General Assembly voted to curtail the early voting period from 45 to 21 days before an election, the Daily Caller reported. Abrams was attacked by Democratic primary opponent Stacey Evans for supporting the measure as a state lawmaker, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, while Abrams cast it as a cost-cutting method for poorer, rural counties:

Abrams has come under fire for her support of a 2011 measure that cut early voting time roughly in half, from 45 days to 21 days, before an election. Her opponent in the primary, former state Rep. Stacey Evans, voted against that measure.

That legislation was pushed by the ACCG lobbying group, which advocates for county governments, as a way to buffer smaller counties from having to pay for longer early-voting access.

At a debate with Evans, Abrams said, "As House Democratic leader, I am proud of my reputation for transparency, for honesty, and for responsibility. In that light, I’m actually going to correct something I said earlier. That, yes, I was not one of the original sponsors of the voting bill, but I did sign it at the end. That is true."

Abrams has continued to claim since her loss to Kemp by about 55,000 votes that it was not a fair election. However, the Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday that claims of suppression by Kemp's office did not hold up under scrutiny. Voter registrations and turnout increased during Kemp's tenure, and the 2018 Georgia governor's race turnout rate was a whopping 17 points higher than in 2014.