Democrat Stacey Abrams repeated her claim that her 2018 governor's race was "stolen from the people of Georgia" in an MSNBC special on voting that aired Sunday.
Abrams, who lost to Republican Brian Kemp last by year by nearly 55,000 votes, has repeatedly claimed she lost due to voter suppression tactics and has refused to call Kemp's win legitimate. Kemp was Georgia's secretary of state when he ran for the office.
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"Do you think the vote was stolen from you, the election was stolen from you?" MSNBC's Katy Tur asked in an episode of American Swamp.
"I think the election was stolen from the people of Georgia," Abrams said. "I don't know that empirically I would have won, but if you add together the thousands of people who faced extraordinarily long lines, who faced hurdles that should not happen in a democracy, the votes that we know were not counted, the secretary of state, who was also my opponent in the race, purged more than 1.4 million voters over basically an eight-year period."
Tur noted Kemp's so-called purges were legal and were an enforcement of a law passed by Georgia Democrats, who dominated state politics for more than a century after the Civil War. Known as the "Use It or Lose It" law, it was signed Democratic governor Zell Miller in 1997 and is part of an effort to keep accurate, up-to-date voter information.
Registered voters who don't vote, update their registration information, file a name or address change, sign a petition, or respond to attempts to confirm their address for three years are moved to "inactive" status but can still participate in elections, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. If they are then inactive or don't respond to election officials for another two election cycles, they are removed from the rolls. Oftentimes, the voters have moved out of the state or died.
Abrams said they knew people had been purged from the rolls who didn't meet the criteria but didn't elaborate on how she knew. She also suggested Hillary Clinton would have won the presidency in 2016 and she would have won her governor's race if not for the 2013 Supreme Court decision Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down two provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
Despite the claims of suppression by Kemp during his eight years as secretary of state, the numbers show voter participation rose from 43 percent in 2014 to 57 percent in 2018. Likewise, Abrams's claim that 53,000 voters were put "on hold" by Kemp to prevent them from voting during the race was deceptive, the Free Beacon reported:
Georgia—like Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin, among others—has an "exact match" law requiring personal information collected on voter registration applications to match data on file with the local department of motor vehicles and the federal Social Security Administration.
The 53,000 individuals in questions were not purged from the rolls. Rather their voter registration status was placed as "pending" meaning more information was required to verify their identity.
The Wall Street Journal observed that Abrams, herself, may hold some responsibility for the significant number of voters labeled with a "pending" status prior to the election.
"The [exact match] law was intended to prevent groups from sloppily filling out applications for individuals, as Ms. Abrams’s New Georgia Project appears to have done," the paper's editorial board wrote.
Abrams's claims of malfeasance in Georgia have been repeated by prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, former attorney general Eric Holder, Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.), and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio). Rep. Seth Moulton (D., Mass.), a longshot presidential candidate, said Abrams would have won if the United States wasn't racist.
Abrams has even gone so far as to say "I won" the race.
"I knew from the calls that we got that something happened," Abrams said in April. "Now, I cannot say that everybody who tried to cast a ballot would've voted for me, but if you look at the totality of the information, it is sufficient to demonstrate that so many people were disenfranchised and disengaged by the very act of the person who won the election that I feel comfortable now saying, ‘I won.'"
Abrams won more votes statewide than any Democrat in history, in the closest gubernatorial race in Georgia in decades. Despite her considerable campaign infrastructure and support, she decided not to challenge Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.) in 2020. She is considering a White House run in 2020 or another shot at Kemp in 2022.