April 21, 2021

Voting rights activist Stacey Abrams educated Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) about election laws at a Senate Judiciary hearing on Tuesday.

Graham began his questioning of Abrams by asking her about her support for voter identification.

"Yes," Abrams said. "There are 35 states in the United States that have had voter identification laws. In fact, every state requires some form of identification. What I've objected to is restrictive voter identification laws that narrow the set of permissible materials."

"The answer is yes as a concept," Graham interrupted. "Do you support the idea that voting should be limited to American citizens?"

"Yes," Abrams replied.

"Do you support ballot harvesting?" Graham asked.

Abrams noted that "ballot harvesting" is a "term of art that's been propagated to describe a variety efforts."

She argued that so-called ballot harvesting is "appropriate" in some circumstances where voters would not otherwise have their votes counted.

"To the extend that they help voters participate in a lawful manner, they should be permitted," Abrams said.

Graham went on to press Abrams about the voting laws that were recently pushed through by Republicans in Georgia.

"Do you believe the Republicans in Georgia -- House, Senate -- when they are making the changes to your state voting laws, do you think they are motivated by trying to suppress the African-American vote?" the senator wondered.

"I have seen it happen that sometimes they are," Abrams admitted. "I have seen other bills that have been truly bipartisan in nature."

"But do you believe that's the motivation behind these laws?" Graham pressed.

"I believe the motivation behind certain provisions in SB 202 are a direct result to the increased participation of communities of color in the 2020 and 2021 elections," Abrams explained.

"I'm out of time," Graham lamented. "Do you think the [Georgia] Speaker of the House Jan Jones is motivated by trying to limit the African-American voters in Georgia?"

"I believe there is racial animus that generated those bills," Abrams insisted. "I would not assume that that racial animus is shared by every person. But the result is that racial animus exists and if it eliminates access to the right to vote then regardless of a certain person's heart, if the effect is deleterious to the ability of people of color to participate in elections then that is problematic and that is wrong."

"It should be rejected by all," she added.

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