Activist Stacey Abrams experienced viral fame earlier this week after she was asked about comments she made regarding Georgia’s new election laws.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp faced immense criticism last month after signing into law a bill that imposes many new voting restrictions in the state, including limiting the use of ballot drop boxes and forbidding giving food or water to people waiting in line to vote. Abrams had been very vocal about her disapproval of this new bill.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, April 20, Republican Sen. John Kennedy asked the voting rights advocate if she could list specific reasons why she found the new voting laws to be both restrictive and racist — and that she did.
“Tell me; you’re against the Georgia bill, I gather, is that right?” the Louisiana senator asked Abrams, to which she responded via a videoconference call, “I’m against certain provisions of it, yes.” Kennedy then told her to “give me a list of the provisions that you object to.”
“It shortens the federal runoff period from nine weeks to four weeks,” she explained. “It restricts the time a voter can request and return an absentee ballot application. It requires that voters have a photo identification or some other form of identification that they are willing to surrender in order to participate in the absentee ballot process.” Sen. Kennedy asked three times, “What else?” At one point, he even asked “is that everything?” and she answered, “No, it is not, no sir,” and continued pointing out other requirements that would be a detriment to ballot access.
Many observers thought Abrams tripped up the Republican senator, who had been interrupting her throughout the colloquy and ultimately cut her off completely, stating, “OK, I get the idea.”
Her detailed analysis of Georgia’s new voting laws went viral almost instantly, garnering approval from many online who praised her for standing her ground.
One Twitter user wrote, “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.” They added, “SO SHE DID… And eventually he had to cut her off by saying: ‘OK, I get the idea.’”
Another person wrote, “But seriously, how does anyone think to themselves, ‘I think I’ll challenge Stacey Abrams on voting rights today and see how that goes’?”
“Stacey Abrams made Senator Kennedy look like the half twit he is!” expressed a third.
Abrams’ viral moment comes on the heels of her recent Nobel Peace Prize nomination. The activist, whose efforts at getting out the vote are widely seen as helping President Biden take Georgia in the 2020 presidential election, was nominated for her work, explicitly in voting rights.
Abrams’ work has even been likened to that of civil right leader Martin Luther King Jr. Lars Haltbrekken, a Socialist Party member of Norway’s parliament, said in announcing her nomination: “Abrams’ efforts to complete King’s work are crucial if the United States of America shall succeed in its effort to create fraternity between all its peoples and a peaceful and just society.”