Photograph by LaToya Ruby Frazier for The New Yorker
Stacey Abrams launches her national voter protection program ahead of the 2020 Election to eliminate voter suppression tactics happening across this country. The focus will be on battleground states but will not be limited to them. The program will provide technical and financial assistance to Democrats in key states to strengthen their much needed voter protection operations before the primaries and next November, according to the Washington Post.
The initiative, called Fair Fight 2020, will be announced on Tuesday at the International Union Painters and Allied Trades. The organization received its name, loosely, during Abrams run for governor. If you remember during her run, she pushed and fought to have then Secretary of State Brian Kemp to recuse himself for the obvious reason of overseeing an election in which he was her opponent. When asked by a debate moderator in Atlanta would he recuse himself should the vote go to recount, Kemp answered: “We’ve got a very competent elections team (his team) to oversee that (recount) process,” according to a CNN article published back in 2018.
According to the Washington Post article released on Tuesday, the effort will cost somewhere in the ballpark of “$4 and $5 million, target 20 states, most of situated in the Midwest and Southeast, and three states with gubernatorial elections this year: Louisiana, Mississippi, and Kentucky.”
At the end of the day, the root or core premise of Fair Fight 2020 lies in its name: fair[ness]. No one is asking for a leg up in this scenario, only for each American regardless of party affiliation, religion, race, color, sexual orientation, or other protected class to enjoy equal and equitable access to the ballot. Republicans know that when voters turn out in droves, seats will be lost. And when seats are lost, power is lost. And when perceived “power” threatened, we have seen politicians travel to the length of the earth to protect that power.
Historically, Black people are far too familiar the wheel of racism utilizing its spokes to disenfranchise us at the polls. Poll taxes, literacy tests, Jim Crow, slavery, shutting down polls early, decreasing poll sites, sending faulty machines, and more were all tactics used to prohibit or decrease access to the ballot. Year after year, election cycle after cycle, we are fed the vicious and suppressive lie that our vote “does not count.” Well, I’m here to tell you that if that was the case people would not be pulling out every stop to keep you from the voting.
Let’s make it count in 2019 and 2020 for our democracy depends on it. Hell, our lives depend on it. We have a choice to make: either change the course of history or fall victim to it. Should the latter become a reality black communities may never recover in our lifetime. To be clear, this is not to scare you into voting but to empower each of us to understand that #BlackVotersMatter.