The unprecedented number of mail-in ballots anticipated for the November 3rd election means people should be prepared for the onslaught of “will not concede” speeches as counties and states tally up, and likely dispute the number of votes for each side. Commentators, activists, lawyers, and Democrat officials explore and even wargame potential scenarios. They say Biden, and Democrats running for lower offices “are not to concede.” As Hillary Clinton put it... “don’t even give an inch” ... in this shifting landscape of an election conducted in pandemic conditions.
Everyone remembers when, for ages, in the 2018 mid-terms, Democrat Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams would not concede. Her new Documentary – All In: The Fight for Democracy, hammers on about the voter suppression she claims is everywhere. It takes stock of the United States’ historic past and practice of Jim Crow laws. Using horrific and at times bloody clips to drive home the reality of Blacks access to voting in earlier times, which no-one disputes, the documentary also posits that voter suppression is inherent in America because the words in the Constitution were drafted in a way that sought to exclude blacks, minorities, and women from participating in elections forever.
There are, of course, many times in the past when white Americans, particularly the Ku Klux Klan - actively barred minorities from voting in local elections. They used fear via lynching, set up cruel, tautological literacy tests to vet potential voters in black communities.
Women were not allowed to vote until the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920.
But you cannot claim this is inherent in the constitution when literally there is no other country in the history of the world that was founded upon such a revolutionary document that grants power to ALL the people. A country where nothing is impossible. In 2020 all races, creed, sexes, and genders in America have attained freedom and prosperity and the Constitution protects this.
What Went on in Georgia
On November 16th, 2018, Democrat Stacey Abrams finally acknowledged Republican Brian Kemp had won the election for Georgia State Governor. In doing so, she developed a new playbook of concession, “Let’s be clear: This is not a speech of concession,” Abrams said. “Concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true, or proper. As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede that.” She filed several lawsuits after the election, which did not bring the result she hoped. More than 3.9 million votes had been cast, Kemp had 54,000 more votes. To trigger a runoff, the lead would have to shrink by more than 17,500 votes. Stacey had lost and Kemp was officially certified as the winner.
Stacey launched a new Political Action Committee (PAC) - Fair Fight Georgia to pursue accountability in Georgia elections and filed a major federal lawsuit against the state of Georgia for its “gross mismanagement” of the election. Following up with a book and her documentary.
Her main complaint was that Kemp, while secretary of state for Georgia, had purged hundreds of thousands of voters from electoral rolls. She said her campaign heard from about 25,000 voters who had problems casting their ballots: some waiting for hours at the polls or arriving at polling stations that had run out of paper ballots. Others, allegedly, had said they did not receive ballots or had their voter registration application rejected. Yet some voters who encountered problems were still able to vote and the Abrams campaign did not have a definitive list of Georgians who ended up disenfranchised.
These complaints have their root in a 2013 Supreme Court decision Shelby v’ Holder - which invalidated section 4b of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The decision affected Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia - where the legacy of slavery was so pronounced that a section of the 1965 Voting Act compelled them to get federal approval for any voting laws. With the Supreme Court ruling, they could now introduce voting laws freely without federal pre-clearance.
So, some states, Georgia included, adopted elements to secure the fairness and integrity of elections with voter-ID laws and various measures tackling things to do with population growth, modernization, migration of people between states as well as illegal immigration. Stacey and other Democrats calculatingly frame these new laws as ones that prevent some citizens from voting. They decry this an assault on civil liberties.
There is no Assault on Civil Liberties
Another false claim was that Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, as Secretary of State, proposed shutting down, seven out of nine voting precincts in predominately Black, Randolph County. Stacey spoke out against Kemp, compared it to Jim Crow 2.0, but, Kemp, like Stacey herself, actually opposed closing these precincts.
The recommendation had come from an outside consultant, hired to review the county’s polling location. The consultant concluded those precincts failed to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, so at issue was actually to do with increasing access for all categories of voters. Moreover, Republican Kemp did not have a say on the decision. It was the Democrat-led county’s election board who considered the consultant’s proposal. The decision rested with two board members, who ultimately rejected it, but it was Democrats who COULD HAVE but DID NOT block the motion advancing. Chairman, of the Georgian Republican Party, John Watson said, “Georgia Democrats are attacking local Democrat election officials on a proposal that both Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams oppose.” “Democrats want to use voters to score political points — and then blame the crises on Republicans.”
The Democrats accusation that Brian Kemp removed over 1.5 million names from voter rolls conveniently ignores that it was a state law passed by Democrats which required he remove anyone who had not voted in seven years from the rolls. Even more egregiously, a group affiliated with Abrams had sued in 2015 to prevent the 2014 and 2015 voter rolls from being cleaned which meant the amount was as high as 1.5million - because after they lost the case, Kemp had to then clean the rolls from 2014 to 2017.
Democrats also made “voter suppression” claims about some 53,000 voters placed in a “pending voter” file, which gives the state time to find them and check their registration. They gave the example of Marsha Appling-Nunez, who had registered to vote and had her registration held up allegedly because of the hyphen in her name. In actual fact, she was placed in the pending file because she had already registered to vote. Kemp even responded to these accusations by giving evidence that 75 percent of the people on the list had the wrong Social Security numbers on their registration forms and 23 percent were voters whom Abrams’s own New Georgia Project had registered using incomplete or wrong information. 11,024 voters who have been listed as “pending” in Georgia since 2014 have never shown up to vote and have never been tracked down. Peculiarly, one of the 53,000 voters in the “pending voter” file was Brian Kemp’s 17-year-old daughter. She had registered to vote but did not turn 18 until just before the November election. On turning 18, her name went from the “pending voter” to the “active-voter” file.
Now consider voter turnout in Georgia 2018: it was up 11 percentage points from the 2014 midterm election and growth occurred mostly among minority voters. According to a 2017 census which counts all people, including those under the age of 18, non-citizens and others who can’t vote, blacks make up 32.5 percent, and Hispanics make up 9.6 percent of the population of Georgia. It is significant then that minority voters in Georgia’s governor race made up 40 percent of total turnout, and 3 of every 4 of those minority voters were black. More people from different backgrounds are participating in American democracy - this is not what voter suppression looks like.
Stacey Abrams, National level Democrats and celebrities poured a ton of money into registering new voters in Georgia. They certainly outperformed Republicans in registrations. It was just that they failed to turn them out – they registered close to 1 million new voters in 2018, but only 10% showed up. And, the percent of BLACK men voting for the REPUBLICAN candidate actually increased between 2014 and 2018. Just as it increased in Florida where they voted for Ron DeSantis and Senator Rick Scott.
Prominent Democrats, including vice-Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, and Joe Biden, exclaim: “Let’s say this loud and clear, without voter suppression, Stacey Abrams would be the governor of Georgia. Andrew Gillum is the governor of Florida.” Democrats have convinced themselves that Republicans are cheating in one way or another, but the evidence above suggests otherwise.
When it comes to ACTUAL tampering with votes, fraud does occur throughout the entire process of voting –from registration to votes being cast. Impersonation at the polls; false registrations; duplicate voting; fraudulent absentee ballots; buying votes; illegal assistance and intimidation of voters; ineligible voting, such as by illegal immigrants; altering vote counts; and so on.
Accusations will be made again this November, and perhaps legal challenges will be more numerous since parties have more financial resources available during Presidential elections. Be aware of the tactics the other side will use, in order to keep one step ahead. And persevere to retain American norms that are the most revered in the world, because Democrats are “All In”.
Carol King received a first class BA (honors) in History and Politics from Stirling University, along with an exceptional commendation for a study on US public opinion and Foreign Policy. She also completed a year of study at University of London before taking up a Graduate Proctor Fellowship at Princeton University. She further completed a MPhil in American Politics at Dundee University. Aspiring to be a writer/commentator on American politics, she now writes for UncoverDC.