Stacey Abrams: Voting restriction bills are 'subversion of American democracy'

Stacey Abrams: Voting restriction bills are 'subversion of American democracy'
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Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D) said the passing of voting restriction bills across the country is a “subversion of American democracy.”

“We are watching the subversion of American democracy by allowing legislators, people in power to overturn the outcome of elections,” Abrams said in an interview on Crooked Media’s Pod Save America.

Abrams specifically pointed to a Texas voting restrictions bill passed by the state Senate last weekend, which was ultimately blocked in the House after Democratic lawmakers staged a walkout to prevent the passage of the legislation.

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The bill calls for banning drive-thru and 24-hour voting, and imposing state felony penalties on public officials who offer mail-in voting applications to voters who do not request them.

Additionally, the bill would allow courts to overturn elections if “the number of votes illegally cast in the election is equal to or greater than the number of votes necessary to change the outcome of an election,” rather than having to confirm evidence of election fraud.

While state House Democrats were able to temporarily block the bill’s passage, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said he is going to add the legislation to the state’s special session agenda. He also vowed to veto funding for the state legislature in the meantime.

Abrams said the bill will effectively allow lawmakers to overturn an election if they “don’t like the outcome.”

“I mean in Texas the bill that was stopped briefly — unfortunately, it will come back in special session — said that you could try to overturn an election without proof of fraud, which means if you just don't like the outcome," she said. "And there are gonna be those who push back and say that's not what it says exactly, but I'm a good enough lawyer."

Abrams said the Texas legislation is similar to the voting restrictions bill signed by Gov. Brian KempBrian KempGeorgia Gov. Kemp says FDA needs to upgrade its authorization for vaccines The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators Savannah becomes first major city in Georgia to reinstate masks MORE (R) in Georgia in March, which limits the use of ballot drop boxes and sets photo ID requirements for absentee voting, among other restrictions.

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She said these “porous” and “poorly written” laws are meant to “allow the unspoken to become the rule,” and said the fact the fact that elections can now be overturned by the “bad actions of others” is “deeply problematic.”

When discussing the bill on Capitol Hill aimed at expanding voting rights, dubbed The For the People Act, Abrams listed three aspects the legislation must have in order for there to be “sound elections heading forward.”

She specifically said the bill must stop anti-voting/voter provisions, protect election workers and protect against the subversion of democracy at the state level.

The House passed the bill mostly along party lines in March. The legislation, however, has since stalled in the Senate.

Abrams said she hopes that if amendments are allowed for the bill, known formally as H.R. 1, Congress will introduce clauses that “protect against what is happening at the state level.”

Abrams’s comments come as a growing number of GOP-dominated state legislatures are passing a record number of bills that curtail voting access.

Legislators in at least 14 states, almost all of which are controlled by Republicans, have passed at least 22 bills to decrease access to the ballot box in just the first five months of 2021, according to a count by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

Those statistics have already exceed the previous record set in 2011, when 14 states enacted 19 new laws restricting ballot access.

The numbers for 2021 are expected to grow in the coming months, as approximately a third of legislatures are still in session. At least 31 additional bills restricting voting access have already passed one chamber in 18 states, and dozens more have received initial hearings.