‘I Know I’m Not the Governor’: Stacey Abrams Acknowledges 2018 Defeat but Insists Election System Unfair

Democrat Stacey Abrams on Sunday dismissed criticism that she did not properly concede the 2018 race for Georgia governor to Republican Brian Kemp.

Abrams, who is now running for governor again in a rematch against Kemp, discussed a 2019 video of her saying she had “won” the race during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.

“I am clearly laying out the challenges that our voters face and the challenges our citizens face when we do not have a government that listens to them,” Abrams said of the video. “I acknowledged that Brian Kemp won — I acknowledged it repeatedly in that speech.”

“I very clearly say I know I’m not the governor, but what I will not do is allow the lack of nuance in our conversations to dull and obfuscate the challenges faced by our citizens,” she added.

Kemp defeated Abrams by more than 54,000 votes to become governor. Abrams has never formally conceded to Kemp and has claimed the 2018 election was “stolen from Georgians.”

Now, Kemp is leading Abrams by 6.4 percentage points, according to a RealClearPolitics polling average.

Abrams acknowledged to Yahoo News last month that Kemp won the election in 2018 “but I will never say that a system that is broken — that denied people their right to vote — is the right thing to have in the state and as part of democracy.”

In her conversation with Yahoo News, she also dismissed suggestions by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and others that her behavior after the 2018 election was similar to former president Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged.

“It is deeply concerning to me that a secretary of state doesn’t understand the difference between the lies being told by Donald Trump and the truth that Republicans acknowledged in the complaints that we raised about the electoral system in Georgia,” Abrams said.

Abrams’s latest comments come one week after a federal judge ruled that Georgia’s election practices, while “not perfect,” do not violate the Constitution or the Voting Rights Act of 1965, shutting down a challenge by a group associated with the Democrat.

The lawsuit was filed by Fair Fight Action and Care in Action in November 2018 and initially sought a massive overhaul of the state’s election system. By the time the case went to trial earlier this year, the suit focused on several specific election processes, including the state’s “exact match” policy for voter-registration applications. The groups argued that those attempting to register to vote have run into problems if information on applications doesn’t exactly match that in driver’s-license or Social Security databases or if new U.S. citizens’ information hasn’t been updated in the driver’s-license database.

The groups also claimed that county election officials, who are trained by the state on the process for canceling absentee ballots, were given inadequate training and incorrect training materials. The plaintiffs accused state officials of mismanaging the voter-registration database. The groups argued that the policies negatively impacted people of color and new citizens and therefore violated the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Josh Belinfante, a lawyer for state election officials, defended the rules and argued that the state’s automatic voter-registration policy and recent increase in voter registration among black residents are evidence that the state is not suppressing voters.

Fair Fight collected testimony from more than 3,000 voters, and very few were unable to cast a ballot. None of the voters said they could not cast a ballot in 2020. Belinfante argued the testimonials showed that many issues were resolved quickly.

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