Just weeks ahead of the election and nearly four years since her previous attempt at becoming Georgia’s governor, progressive Stacey Abrams’s “hard-won victory for voters” was another major defeat for the gubernatorial candidate and the Democrats’ narrative after a federal judge issued a ruling on a 2018 lawsuit.
Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones released his 288-page decision for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division against Abrams’ Fair Fight Action organization which she began after her loss to then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) in the 2018 gubernatorial race. Fair Fight’s suit claimed that Georgia’s laws had violated the Constitution and the Voter Registration Act (VRA) and that Kemp’s oversight of the laws was improper and discriminated against minority voters as they sought a legal avenue to change the state’s election system.
Jones did not see it that way as he contended, “Although Georgia’s election system is not perfect, the challenged practices violate neither the constitution nor the VRA”
As such, the judge concluded, “Having held a non-jury trial and considered the evidence and arguments of the parties, for the foregoing reasons, the Court finds IN FAVOR of Defendants and against Plaintiffs.”
Abrams attempted to frame the loss as a win on social media as she posted in part, “During this suit, more than 3,000 voters shared their stories, creating an unprecedented and lasting record of voter testimony, which highlighted the suppressive effects of the Secretary of State’s actions on vulnerable voters.”
“As governor, I will expand the right to vote. I will defend minority voters, not bemoan their increased power or grow ‘frustrated’ by their success. This case demonstrates that the 2022 election will be a referendum on how our state treats its most marginalized voices,” she went on after asserting the “hard-won victory.”
As governor, I will expand the right to vote.. I will defend minority voters, not bemoan their increased power or grow ‘frustrated’ by their success. This case demonstrates that the 2022 election will be a referendum on how our state treats its most marginalized voices. 5/
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) October 1, 2022
Jones’ decision straddled the fence in that regard as he also wrote, “This is a voting rights case that resulted in wins and losses for all parties throughout the litigation and culminated in what is believed to have been the longest voting rights bench trial in the history of the Northern District of Georgia.”
However, now-Gov. Kemp expressed what he thought was really at play as the rematch against Abrams, who has yet to concede from their first matchup, draws closer. “Judge Jones’ ruling exposes this legal effort for what it really is: a tool wielded by a politician hoping to wrongfully weaponize the legal system to further her own political goals.”
Judge Jones’ ruling exposes this legal effort for what it really is: a tool wielded by a politician hoping to wrongfully weaponize the legal system to further her own political goals.
— Brian Kemp (@BrianKempGA) September 30, 2022
The current Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who was the named defendant for the case, also spoke out on the decision and noted, “This ruling allows local officials to focus on the task at hand this year–running a safe, secure, & accessible election. Stolen election & voter suppression claims by Stacey Abrams were nothing but poll-tested rhetoric not supported by facts & evidence.”
This ruling allows local officials to focus on the task at hand this year – running a safe, secure, & accessible election. Stolen election & voter suppression claims by Stacey Abrams were nothing but poll-tested rhetoric not supported by facts & evidence: https://t.co/rKGEx4SiVO
— GA Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (@GaSecofState) October 1, 2022
Supporting Raffensperger’s statement was the fact that, while Abrams had hoped to make the case that Georgia’s voter integrity laws were suppressing the vote, 1.9 million voters turned out for the 2022 primary as compared to 1.2 million in 2018. Furthermore, there was a reported 20 percent increase in African-American turnout as well, disabusing her of the narrative that the laws were particularly detrimental to minorities.
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