Stacey Abrams gave a masterclass on how to handle a “gotcha” question.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, the former Georgia state House minority leader and gubernatorial candidate reiterated her objections to her state’s newly enacted election reform law. A number of Democrats and voting right activists have referred to the legislation as “Jim Crow 2.0,” arguing its voting restrictions would disproportionately affect people of color.
“I think there are components of it that are, indeed, racist because they use racial animus as a means of targeting the behaviors of certain voters to eliminate their participant and limit their participation in elections,” Abrams said when asked if she believes the law was racist.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La) went on to press Abrams on her stance, asking her to list the specific provisions that she finds objectionable. Abrams dove into the list without any hesitation.
“I object to the provisions that remove access to the right to vote, that shorten the federal run-off period from nine weeks to four weeks, that it restricts the time a voter can request and return an absentee ballot application ….” Abrams said before being interrupted by Kennedy.
“OK. Slow down, for me” Kennedy said. “Our audio is not real good here. Can you start over for me?”
“What else?” Kennedy asked. “Is that everything?”
“No it is not. No, sir. It restricts the hours of operation, because it now, under the guise of setting a standardize timeline, it makes it optional for counties that may … not want to see expanded access to the right-to-vote, they can now limit their hours; instead of those hours being from 7-7, they’re now from 9-5, which may have an affect on voters who cannot vote during business hours … It limits the ...”
“OK, I get the idea. I get the idea,” Kennedy said.
You can check out the interaction below.
“Ok, I get the idea. I get the idea” – Stacey Abrams gave Sen. John Kennedy waaaaay more than he bargained for when he asked her to list off provisions of the Georgia voter suppression bill she objects to pic.twitter.com/PP7s7ZltMS— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 21, 2021
At one point during the hearing, Texas Sen. John Cornyn accused Abrams of believing that voter ID laws were inherently racist. Abrams pushed back against the Republican’s claim, stating she wasn’t opposed to voter ID laws, just ones that disproportionally target voters of color.
“The intent always matters, sir, and that is the point of this conversation,” Abrams said. “That is the point of the Jim Crow narrative, that Jim Crow did not simply look at the activities. It looked at the intent, it looked at the behaviors and it targeted behaviors that were disproportionately used by people of color.”