Democrat Stacey Abrams. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM Greg Bluestein/Political Insider
Photo: Greg Bluestein/Political Insider
Photo: Greg Bluestein/Political Insider

Abrams earns support from civil rights figures, unveils voting package 

Democrat Stacey Abrams collected the endorsements of prominent civil rights leaders on Thursday as she unveiled a range of new proposals she said would make voter registration easy and voting more accessible.

The candidate for governor said she would expand automatic voter registration and require speedier processing of voter registration applications. She also said she would establish same-day voter registration programs. 

The policy proposals came as the former House minority leader announced she’s received endorsements from the Rev. C.T. Vivian, former Georgia NAACP head Francys Johnson and Vernon Jordan, a former adviser to Bill Clinton. 

“With their help, I will pursue a bold vision for Georgia, where our government listens to those who do not feel seen or heard, and one that serves every single family, no matter who they are or where they live,” said Abrams, who is running to be the nation’s first black female governor. “Protecting and expanding the right to vote is the foundation of that vision.” 

As part of her policy roll-out, Abrams said she would back legislation to ensure a paper trail for votes, set aside money to replace aging voting machines and support a nonpartisan redistricting commission to redraw legislative boundaries. 

She said she would also support changes that would expand weekend early voting and allow voters to cast their ballot at any precinct in their county for any election – not just during the early voting period. 

Abrams has come under fire for her support of a 2011 measure that cut early voting time roughly in half, from 45 days to 21 days, before an election. Her opponent in the primary, former state Rep. Stacey Evans, voted against that measure. 

That legislation was pushed by the ACCG lobbying group, which advocates for county governments, as a way to buffer smaller counties from having to pay for longer early-voting access.

Abrams and Evans have divvied up endorsements months ahead of the May primary. 

Abrams has support from several key progressive advocacy groups, state legislators and labor groups, as a well as Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson. She also announced on Thursday the backing of about 20 local civil rights activists.

Evans earned endorsements from former Gov. Roy Barnes, a teachers group and more than a dozen current and former state lawmakers

Five leading Republicans are locked in their own duel for their party’s nomination: Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, former state Sen. Hunter Hill, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, businessman Clay Tippins and state Sen. Michael Williams. 

 

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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