Stacey Abrams, who became a household name in the 2018 elections as she ran for Governor in Georgia in a race that she ultimately lost, is now taking the fight directly to the polls, launching a new initiative to protect voters and combat voter suppression.
The initiative, Fair Fight 2020 will be focused on 20 states across the country.
“The goal is to ensure there is infrastructure in every single one of those states. Where voter protection processes aren’t something that wait until September of 2020 but they stay in place for the duration of 2020,” Abrams told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The goal is going to be for us to have meaningful effects on ensuring that voters know their rights, they have access to ballots, that they will be able to effectively counter what Republicans will be doing. “
“We have to make certain that every eligible American can cast a ballot in 2020 – and that work has to start now,” she added.
Abrams made it clear in the interview that her current focus is ensuring voter protection, and not a run for the presidency.
“My best value add in the primaries will be doing the work of fighting voter suppression. I will not be running,” she said.
She shied away from specifically answering if she’s considering another run in 2022 against now-Gov. Brian Kemp, who won the 2018 elections amidst accusations of targeted voter suppression.
“My political future will be determined in the future. But my present and the work that needs to be done before my party chooses the nominee will be focusing on electoral opportunities and fighting voter suppression,” she said.
Both Abrams and her top aide, Lauren Groh-Wargo, told AJC that they have been doing the research and having conversations with party leaders as well as “those who have been in the trenches.”
“Our mission is to create the infrastructure that will have staffing that’s permanent and is full-time but can scale by bringing in the people who have expertise – the local attorney who has had to file petitions before, the voter registrar who knows what happened in the last election that was contested,” Abrams said.
“There’s going to be historic turnout in primaries next year. And historic numbers of voters who have questions about how to register, where to register. It’s having a multi-lingual hotline, having social media and digital money to make sure the message is getting out. We’re not going to be the expert on every single state’s law. We’re going to be people who have a set of expertise and background in a general sense and know the pieces that need to be set up,” Groh-Wargo added.
Abrams said that the team is preparing to “fight back” against “the sheer scale of voter suppression [that] sometimes overwhelms the ability to push back.”
The program will be launched out of Gwinnett County, Georgia, which Abrams described as “emblematic of both the opportunity and the challenges that will be faced by voters in 2020.”
“It’s a multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-lingual community where we saw extraordinary levels of turnout but we also saw extraordinary levels of suppression,” Abrams said of Gwinnett County. “Where the signature mismatch and the rejection of absentee ballots hit a peak, where naturalized citizens were challenged on their right to bring translators into the polls with them. But we also saw the most diverse slate of candidates stand up and get elected.”