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Stacey Abrams: Voting rights legislation can be passed

Stacey Abrams
Posted at 2:02 PM, Jan 19, 2022

ATLANTA (AP) -- Stacey Abrams used a Wednesday campaign stop in Atlanta to applaud the push for voting rights in Congress and express support for President Joe Biden.

Abrams was noticeably absent from Biden's visit last week to Atlanta, where he called for an end to the filibuster to pass voting legislation. An aide blamed a scheduling conflict, and in a statement released after Biden spoke, Abrams said she welcomed his commitment to changing the filibuster for voting bills.

On Wednesday, Abrams said she was a "proud Democrat, and President Joe Biden is my president." She took questions from the media at the headquarters of the Georgia AFL-CIO union, which announced that it was endorsing her campaign for Georgia governor.

She said of Biden, "I am proud to work with him on not only the issues facing us on voting rights, but I'm proud of the resources he has sent to Georgia."

Abrams also said she was "proud of the work that's going to happen on Capitol Hill today to keep" voting rights "front and center for every Georgian and every American."

"I believe legislation can be passed because I know that we've done it before," she said.

"But we also have to remember that civil rights and voting rights took a long time," she added.

Senators opened debate Wednesday on voting legislation that's almost certain to be defeated. Despite his late push, Biden has been unable to persuade two holdout Democrats, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, to change Senate rules so the party can overpower a Republican filibuster blocking the voting bill.

Democrats and civil rights leaders say the bill is vital for protecting democracy after Republican-led state legislatures passed a slew of new voting restrictions following President Donald Trump's false claims of voting fraud. Republicans have accused Democrats of pushing a sprawling federal takeover of election systems.

Abrams blasted new voting rules in Georgia, saying they were a response to the success voters had in casting ballots.

She also called for Medicaid expansion in the state and criticized plans recently pushed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp to do away with the need for a license to carry a handgun in public. The current license requirement includes a background check. Kemp, citing a surge in violent crime, has said Georgia residents should have their constitutional rights protected and be able to protect themselves and their families.

Abrams said the license change was antithetical to Kemp's emphasis on public safety.

"Because when you say that you want people to be safe, how can you say that you are willing to take away background checks and mental health checks before someone can have a weapon in this state?" she asked.