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The Associated Press sat down this week with Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for governor in 2018 and a leading voice on ballot access, to talk about the inequity of sweeping, new state law on Georgia voting. (April 9)
STACEY ABRAMS: I am fighting for fair elections.
HILARY POWELL: Leading voting rights voice, Stacey Abrams, says, voting is perhaps as essential as praying.
STACEY ABRAMS: I am a woman of faith, and so, my approach is to pray for what I need, but work for what I think needs to be done. What we have seen happen in Georgia is that people's voices have been silenced.
HILARY POWELL: As a nationwide fight over ballot access and election laws plays out, Abrams's efforts as founder of voting rights group, Fair Fight, are centered on her home state of Georgia, where she says, the sweeping overhaul of election law are familiar efforts to suppress the electoral power of Black voters. As a daughter of United Methodist reverends, she says, it's a narrative unchanged since our parents first tried voting in the segregated South.
STACEY ABRAMS: They also raised us with a very fundamental belief that voting is a sacred obligation because it is the way that in the secular world we shape the world we live in. My father was arrested at the age of 14 for helping to register Black people in Mississippi who were denied the right to vote under Jim Crow.
HILARY POWELL: Opponents say, Georgia's new restrictions, which criminalize giving food or water to voters waiting in line and limit the use of drop boxes, are reminiscent of last century Jim Crow laws. Abrams says, created barriers without explicitly mentioning race.
STACEY ABRAMS: Instead, it's going to make it harder for these specific communities to vote. It doesn't say Brown and Black people don't vote. It simply says, we're going to remove things that we saw you use to your benefit, or we're going to make it harder for you to access these opportunities.
DONALD TRUMP: They rigged an election. They rigged it like they've never rigged an election before.
HILARY POWELL: Supporters of the law say, it's meant to preserve electoral integrity on the heels of baseless claims by Donald Trump, that he lost the presidency due to fraudulent votes.
Abrams, who was defeated in the 2018 Georgia governor's race, won't confirm a 2022 run. But she says, she's holding on to her faith in pushing to make sure the effort to get souls to the polls is not a partisan one.
STACEY ABRAMS: Having laws on the books should not be the measure of whether or not a party could win. The laws on the books should determine whether voters can participate.
HILARY POWELL: Hilary Powell, The Associated Press.