Georgia hasn’t voted blue in 28 years. Now, amid Joe Biden taking the state from Donald Trump, Stacey Abrams is getting the credit she deserves for helping Biden win it.
As we’ve all witnessed during this year’s presidential election, Joe Biden has managed to win a handful of battleground states over Donald Trump, including two notable flips from the 2016 election — Michigan and Wisconsin. Biden is also forecasted to flip several other states that include: Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, with Georgia and Pennsylvania’s votes almost fully accounted for. Social media users have since directed their attention at the two states, and acknowledging the people who’ve played an integral part in mobilizing voters — especially young voters — and helping turn the states to Biden’s favor. In Georgia, there’s one person in particular who has been credited with Biden’s performance in the state — Stacey Abrams.
Abrams, a Yale Law School graduate, tax attorney, and former Georgia state representative, first gained nationwide attention when she ran for governor against Brian Kemp in 2018. Unfortunately, she lost, with many believing that Kemp won the race because of racially motivated voter suppression. The then-secretary of state for Georgia had mass-canceled more than a million voter registrations between 2012 and 2018, and in the run-up to the tight gubernatorial race, froze an estimated 53,000 registrations, a majority of them belonging to African American voters, according to a report from the Associated Press.
Following the loss, Abrams refocused her efforts on mobilizing more voters in Georgia, something she had already been doing long before her gubernatorial run. As a member of the state legislature, she created a voter registration nonprofit called the New Georgia Project in 2014. According to the organization’s website, it has registered almost half a million Georgians in all 159 Georgia’s counties, as of September 2019.
In 2018, Abrams then founded Fair Fight, a hybrid political action committee focused on addressing voter registration, ballot access, and vote counting.
“We promote fair elections in Georgia and around the country, encourage voter participation in elections, and educate voters about elections and their voting rights,” the organization’s website reads. “Fair Fight brings awareness to the public on election reform, advocates for election reform at all levels, and engages in targeted voter registration and other voter outreach programs and communications.”
Since then, the organization has done everything from organizing texting and phone banks for the 2019 municipal elections to ensuring that counties and precincts had adequate resources for the presidential primary back in March. A notable action the organization made was when it filed a federal lawsuit in the aftermath of the 2018 election against the Secretary of State challenging the constitutionality of Georgia’s election system. In December 2019, the organization followed that up by filing an emergency action that prevented 120,000 Georgians from being purged from the voter rolls before 2020 under the state’s “use it or lose it” statute.
“As a result of this litigation, the Secretary of State was forced to admit a massive error and reinstate 22,000 voters to the rolls. We are currently progressing through the discovery process of the lawsuit and expect to be in trial in the spring,” Abrams said in January of this year about the lawsuit.
Since 2018, Abrams and Fair Fight have registered more than 800,000 new voters in Georgia.
“I will say, of those numbers, what we are excited about is that 45% of those new voters are under the age of 30. Forty-nine percent are people of color. And all 800,000 came on the rolls after November ’18, which means these are voters who weren’t eligible to vote for me but are eligible to participate in this upcoming election. And we have been working assiduously to get them turned out,” Abrams said in an interview with NPR earlier this month.
Amid seeing the voting results for Georgia, Abrams took to Twitter to also acknowledge others who’ve played a part in making the state turn blue, including other organizations like Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta, Black Voters Matter, and the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials.
So many deserve credit for 10yrs to new Georgia: @gwlauren @fairfightaction @nseufot @NewGAProject @AAAJ_Atlanta @GALEOorg @BlackVotersMtr Helen Butler @GeorgiaDemocrat @RebeccaDeHart DuBose Porter @DPGChair. Always John Lewis. Charge any omissions to my head. My heart is full.💙
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) November 6, 2020
The mobilizing of these voters, especially young voters, is sure to have played a significant role in Biden winning Georgia, and the state going blue for the first time in 28 years. (A Democratic presidential candidate has not been backed in Georgia since Bill Clinton beat George H. W. Bush in the state in 1992.) That Stacey Abrams turned her gubernatorial loss into fuel for making sure disenfranchised Americans were able to have their voice heard, is yet another reflection of her undeniable impact as a politician, and how impactful she could be as her political career continues.