Stacey Abrams defended her refusal to concede last year’s Georgia gubernatorial election on Monday, arguing that adhering to the democratic norm of conceding to a victorious opponent would make her “complicit” in a “rigged” system.
Abrams has consistently refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of Republican Brian Kemp’s November gubernatorial victory and cites the dynamics of her loss as the motivating factor behind the launch of her national voting-rights-advocacy group Fair Fight 2020. During a Monday appearance on CBS This Morning, Abrams pushed back on the suggestion that her denial of the election result’s legitimacy resembles President Trump’s 2016 flirtation with the idea that he might refuse to accept the presidential election results if he was defeated.
“There’s a lot that’s been made of the fact that I did not concede my election,” she said. “But I never denied the legal sufficiency of that election, and that’s the difference between me and Trump. He refuses to acknowledge the legal sufficiency or threatens not to, but my point is that the laws are wrong. We have to fix those laws because as long as we have eligible American citizens who cannot cast a ballot, then the game is rigged.”
The failed gubernatorial candidate went on to argue that modern “voter suppression” efforts are more “insidious” than they were in the 1960’s because they are less blatant than the laws imposed under Jim Crow.
Abrams lost to Kemp by almost 55,000 votes but has maintained that the outcome was the product of Kemp’s voter-suppression efforts, which, she argues, were facilitated by his retaining his position as Georgia secretary of state while he ran for governor.
A host of prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, former attorney general Eric Holder, Senators Kamala Harris of California, Corey Booker of New Jersey, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, have endorsed Abrams’s claim that Kemp stole the election through a series of nefarious voter “purges” in the run up to election day.
As secretary of state, Kemp did purge some 53,000 voters from the rolls after they ignored the state’s multiple requests to fix discrepancies between their voter-registration forms and forms already compiled in state databases.