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Stacey Abrams talks boycotts, voting rights and vaccinating underserved areas

“My focus is on making certain we can have elections (with) full participation in 2022,” Stacey Abrams said.

Stacey Abrams RUTH FREMSON/The New York Times

When both Democrats Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won the Georgia senate seats in a contentious run-off in January, many people believed their victories were a direct result of the tireless activism Stacey Abrams has devoted her political career to. Abrams was the Democratic candidate for governor in 2018, and although she lost to Governor Brian Kemp by a slim margin, Abrams has become a powerful proponent for voting rights and a symbol of change within the previously red state.

The Associated Press recently spoke to Ms. Abrams about a variety of topics, including Georgia’s sweeping new election laws, Major League Baseball moving the All-Star game from Cobb County and whether or not she plans to run again for mayor.

“In the 2018 election and the 2020 election, there has been an increased use of early voting, in-person absentee voting, use of drop boxes,” Abrams explained. “And these are all of the things that have been tightened. The change from (using) signature verification to using an ID to submit your absentee ballot is a direct result to lawsuits that we filed to allow more people to use absentee balloting. These are (new) laws that respond to an increase in voting by people of color by constricting, removing or otherwise harming their ability to access these perquisites. It doesn’t say brown and Black people can’t vote. It simply says we’re going to remove things that we saw you use to your benefit; we’re going to make it harder for you to access these opportunities.”

Abrams seemed conflicted when asked about MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s decision to move the 2021 All-Star game from Georgia to Colorado. She released a statement via Twitter following the initial decision and her sentiments remain the same.

“I do not believe that a boycott at this moment is beneficial to the victims of these bills. I do believe it is absolutely necessary for corporations to show their goodwill,” she said. “They have to publicly denounce these bills, they have to support and invest in voting rights expansion, and they need to support the federal voting rights standards.”

As for her plans to run for governor in 2022, Abrams said she’s not “thinking about that right now.” “My focus is on making certain we can have elections (with) full participation in 2022. I’m also working through my organization Fair Count on ensuring that every person who’s eligible for the (COVID-19) vaccination can get it, especially in the underserved southwest, rural area of Georgia.”

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