Abrams says GA voting law targets minorities

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"I think there are components of it that are indeed racist, because they use racial animus as a means of targeting the behaviors of certain voters to eliminate or to limit their participation elections," Abrams said at a Tuesday Senate hearing titled, "Jim Crow 2021: The Latest Assault on the Right to Vote."

Abrams, the former Democratic minority leader in Georgia's state assembly, is one of the highest-profile advocates for voting rights in the United States.

Following her failed bid for state governor in 2018, she lead an effort register thousands of African-American voters in Georgia and is credited with playing a role in Democrats flipping that state in the 2020 presidential race and winning two U.S. Senate contests.

She's emerged as a leading critic of a new law passed by Republican legislators in Georgia that restricts absentee voting and criminalized handing food and water to voters waiting in line to cast ballots.

"You believe that the Georgia legislature made deliberate attempts to suppress the minority vote?" asked Republican Senator John Cornyn.

"Yes," Abrams responded.

Cornyn pressed her over Georgia's law, pointing out that other states in the Democratic-leaning Northeast had even more limits on absentee ballots.

Abrams said national reforms were needed, but that restrictions weren't by their nature racist unless they were tailored to limit racial groups' voting behaviors.

"Those laws that were changed in 2021, in response to an increased use by people of color, laws that were put in place by Republicans 15 years ago, and they were perfectly satisfied with the utility of those laws until they were used successfully by people of color," Abrams said.

"The intent matters, and the intent behind these laws matter in the state of Georgia."