words by Charles Brooks
words by Charles Brooks
|Photo Credit: Marco Verch|
This year’s election cycle saw an unprecedented 3 blacks running for governor; Ben Jealous (Maryland), Stacey Abrams (Georgia) and Andrew Gillum (Florida) each won their respective primaries but lost in the general election. The race in Maryland was settled on election night with Jealous pulling in 43.5% of the vote with over one million votes, but lost by over 270, 000 votes. The races in Florida and Georgia, however were too close to call on election night forcing Gillum to withdraw his concession while Abrams pointed to the thousands of uncounted votes left on the table and just flatly refused to concede her race.
Governor-elect Brian Kemp nevertheless declared victory and ironically two days later, resigned as the Georgia’s secretary of state. The same secretary of state who was repeatedly under fire for deploying voter suppression tactics for years leading right up to the 2018 elections. The nation watched as the drama unfolded in both Florida and Georgia with accusations of racism, voter suppression tactics, election day shenanigans, reports of long voter lines along with “misplaced” ballots and missed deadlines. Both campaigns took on what appeared to be herculean efforts to ensure every vote is counted with a flurry of lawsuits.
But after nearly two weeks, Abrams and Gillum officially ended their gubernatorial campaigns. In conceding the election Gillum asserted, “We wanted to make sure that every single vote, as long as it was a legally cast vote, we wanted those votes to be counted.”
But Abrams, on the other hand, not only refused to concede the race to Kemp but took a step further
When Abrams spoke to her supporters, she announced the launch of a new voting rights organization, Fair Fight Georgia and plans to file a major federal lawsuit against Georgia for gross mismanagement and to protect future elections from unconstitutional actions. Days after appearing on CNN, Fight Fair Action filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The lawsuit points out that Georgia has a history of neglecting its elections infrastructure and suppressing votes – particularly of people of color. “The Secretary of State and State Election Board grossly mismanaged an election that deprived Georgia citizens, and particularly citizens of color, of their fundamental right to vote.”
The lawsuit describes Georgia’s electoral process as a violation to the Constitution’s 1st, 13th and 14th Amendment as well as Section II of the Voting Rights Act. The lawsuit also discloses a number of allegations with widespread implications from voter suppression tactics designed to disenfranchise voters. The lawsuit cites the mass purging of voter registrations, the closing and relocating polling places, the failure to provide functioning voting machines, provisional and absentee ballots. Abrams tells her supporters, “…Because these votes are our voices. We are each entitled to our choices…”