Wednesday, October 27, 2021

CNN Commentator Calls Out Georgia Election Lie

After the Georgia election, the losing candidate refused to concede.  The candidate claimed that widespread voter shenanigans in the Peach State had tipped the election to the opponent.  Yet the candidate offered no proof in support of the claim.  The losing candidate's party though accepted as gospel that the election was stolen.  

I am not talking about Donald Trump in 2020, I'm talking about Stacey Abrams in 2018.  

Stacey Abrams ran for Governor in Georgia in 2018.   She ran an admirable race, but lost by nearly 55,000 votes.  Trump lost Georgia by less than 12,000.  Despite losing the state by nearly 5 times what Donald Trump did, Abrams almost always gets a pass from the media on offering proof in support of her claim that voter suppression cost her the election.  

To his credit, CNN commentator Chris Cillizza took a more thoughtful approach in an column published yesterday:

At a rally over the weekend, former Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe did something his party has repeatedly bashed Donald Trump and Republicans for doing: He suggested a past election had been unfairly decided because of ballot shenanigans. 

With 2018 Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams by his side, McAuliffe said this: 

"She would be the governor of Georgia today had the governor of Georgia not disenfranchised 1.4 million Georgia voters before the election. That's what happened to Stacey Abrams. They took the votes away."

Which is not, in fact, what happened.

Cillizza goes on to note that Kemp, who was then Georgia Secretary of State, had presided over a purge of the voter rolls that removed hundreds of thousands of voters.  What Cillizza does not mention is that under federal law, Kemp was legally obligated to clean up the voter registration rolls by purging voters who hadn't cast ballots in several election cycles, most likely because they had died or moved out of state.  This process had been delayed by litigation which is why there was such a backlog.

Abrams simply assumes these purged voters were actually qualified voters who would have shown up and voted for her, were it not for being removed from the voting registration rolls by Kemp.  Abrams though has never offered anything more than a few examples of such voters, not even remotely the numbers needed to overcome a 55,000 vote margin.

Although Abrams claims voter suppression, the 2018 election featured 55% turnout, which is 21 points higher than the average turnout for a Georgia midterm from 1982 through 2014.  Abrams' more specific claim that the African-American vote was suppressed is likewise bogus.  Minority turnout in Georgia surged in 2018, due in no small part due to Abrams' candidacy.  While voting locations in Atlanta were moved and in some cases consolidated, that did not dampen minority turnout.  Nor were the moves necessarily nefarious.  Voting locations often have to be moved and consolidated due to shifts in population and voting trends.

The article continues:   

As Charles S. Bullock III, political science professor at the University of Georgia, told The Washington Post's Fact Checker in 2019: "Abrams was very effective in mobilizing her supporters, but in the end — perhaps due to a narrowing of the enthusiasm gap following the [Brett] Kavanaugh hearings — lots of Republicans also turned out. The [voter fraud] claim is not based on fact but will continue to be articulated by Abrams since it helps mobilize her supporters."

Sort of like what Donald Trump is doing.

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