Saturday former gubernatorial candidate and state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams plans to launch her Fair Fight 2020 initiative at a Gwinnett County elementary school where people attempting to vote last November were frustrated by long lines and voting machine glitches.
Annistown Elementary School is a symbolic choice for a first public event after Abrams announced plans in Las Vegas Tuesday to expand her Georgia voting-rights group across the nation by providing training across 20 states to protect against threats of voter suppression.
In her unsuccessful gubernatorial race against Republican Brian Kemp last year, voting rights was a central issue in the campaign. Kemp also oversaw the election in his role as secretary of state.
Under an “exact match” law, Kemp stalled more than 50,000 voter registrations by mostly black voters, according to an Associated Press report last fall. Through a process Kemp calls “voter roll maintenance,” his office “cancelled over 1.4 million voter registrations since 2012” and that “nearly 670,000 registrations were cancelled in 2017 alone,” according to the AP story.
Kemp denies he tried to suppress the rights of registered voters. And Georgia Republicans often point to the record-setting 4 million Georgia voters who cast ballots in 2018 as evidence suppression didn’t occur.
Reports of voting problems at the Anniston precinct in Snellville started at the 7 a.m. opening of the polls when machines malfunctioned. Technical problems persisted throughout the day and a Gwinnett judge eventually ordered the precinct to remain open until 9:25 p.m., long after the scheduled 7 p.m. close.
Some voters said they waited in line more than four hours before reaching a voting kiosk.
Annistown Elementary serves a predominantly African American community that is considered a Democratic stronghold.
This Saturday’s Fair Fight 2020 event is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.