Updated August 13, 2019 - 7:42 pm
Georgia politician Stacey Abrams will not join the Democratic presidential field and will instead focus her efforts on a nationwide voter rights organization, she told the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades’ annual convention in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
“People have to have a reason to vote, and they have to have the right to vote,” Abrams said. “I’ve decided to leave it to a whole bunch of other people to give (voters) a reason, but I am going to make sure they have a right to vote.”
Abrams lost a close gubernatorial race in 2018, which she chalked up to voter suppression in her Tuesday speech. She said this motivated her to increase election participation and fight for voting rights going forward through Fair Fight, her new organization. She had weighed a 2020 presidential bid and possibly a Senate race.
She said a variety of states including Arizona, Texas and Tennessee have joined Georgia and others in enacting laws designed to deny voting rights to the underprivileged, immigrants and people of color. Voter-roll purges, stringent identification requirements, poll closures and crackdowns on third-party voter registration restrict voters in the name of combating voter fraud, a claim Abrams said “is a lie.”
Abrams asked the union, which contributed to her 2018 campaign, to support her new effort, saying labor has led on sweeping changes in America since the 1800s. She hopes to establish hotlines for voters to call in each of these states and staff their polling places to ensure federal election laws are being followed.
Fair Fight will also advocate for greater economic opportunities, health care access and infrastructure improvements, Abrams said. Finally, it will seek to educate voters on the importance of the 2020 census, which Abrams said “will determine the story of America.”