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Abrams’ response to questions on voting rights bill goes viral

Activist and former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is going viral for her response to a GOP senator who quizzed her on a voting rights bill that was recently introduced in her home state. 

Abrams was testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee about voting rights when Senator John Kennedy, of Louisiana, asked her to why she objects to Georgia’s controversial voting rights bill.

Kennedy also asked Abrams if she found the bill racist. “I think there are provisions of it that are racist, yes,” she said.

Kennedy then quizzed Abrams to list all the provisions she objects to. “It shortens the federal run-off period from nine weeks to four weeks,” she said. “It restricts the time a voter can request and return an absentee ballot application.”

“It requires that a voter has a photo identification or some other form of identification that they after willing to surrender in order to participate in an absentee ballot process,” Abrams continued. 

Kennedy then stopped Abrams to ask a question about that ID provision. Abrams said Georgia would become the fourth state to require voters to put their identity at risk while voting. 

“What else?” Kennedy pressed Abrams. She continued to list provisions, and Kennedy continued to ask: “What else?”

“Is that everything?” he asked. 

“No, it is not,” Abrams said. “No, sir.” 

She continued to share that the bill would shorten voting time windows and allow counties to limit voting hours, “which may have an effect on voters who cannot vote during business hours.”

When Abrams continued to list more provisions, Kennedy interrupted her again. “OK. I get the idea,” he said. 

A clip of the exchange went viral on Twitter, with many pointing out how Abrams kept her cool during the questioning.

“If you watch even a couple minutes of this testimony you’ll see @staceyabrams do what she does best: Respectfully and seriously make a compelling argument without alienating viewers who don’t yet agree with her,” tweeted former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat and the founder of a voting policy organization. “Her professionalism never comes at the expense of passion.”

“Senator John Kennedy thought he was pulling a *gotcha* question on Stacey Abrams by asking her to list off all the parts of the Georgia Voter Suppression Bill that are racist, SO SHE DID,” tweet Jake Lobin, a Georgia Democratic election volunteer.

“I just watched Stacey Abrams go back and forth with Senator Kennedy of Louisiana regarding the new voting law in Georgia being racist,” tweeted author Jason Overstreet. “What she just articulated, in defending how it is racist in very specific ways, was breathtakingly impressive.”

Georgia’s 98-page election law was passed by a GOP-controlled legislature and signed by Republican Governor Brian Kemp at the end of March. While Republicans widely supported the bill, it has sparked a debate over voting rights, with Democrats and voting rights groups outraged by voter ID provisions and changes to mail voting. 

Many believe the provisions will make it more difficult for some minorities and poorer voters to cast a ballot, though proponents of the bill and other similar measures introduced after the 2020 elections say they’re necessary to combat voter fraud. Allegations of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, however, were deemed unfounded by the Justice Department, then-Attorney General William Barr announced in December.

The bill’s passage also inspired many major corporations, including Georgia-based Coca-Cola and Delta, to speak out against it. Major League Baseball pulled its All-Star Game out of Georgia CBS News’ parent company ViacomCBS also spoke out against the bill as well. 

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