Abrams’ group launches seven-figure ad campaign targeting Georgia GOP voting measures

Stacey Abrams, former Georgia House Democratic Leader and gubernatorial candidate, speaks to attendees at the National Press Club Headliners Luncheon in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 15, 2019. (Cheriss May/Sipa USA/TNS)
Stacey Abrams, former Georgia House Democratic Leader and gubernatorial candidate, speaks to attendees at the National Press Club Headliners Luncheon in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 15, 2019. (Cheriss May/Sipa USA/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

The ads target new restrictions on vote-by-mail

Georgia Republicans are edging closer to adopting restrictive new elections measures. The voting rights group founded by Stacey Abrams aims to turn public opinion decisively against the proposals.

Fair Fight Action launched a multimillion-dollar ad campaign on Tuesday warning that legislation to restrict absentee balloting could harm Republicans as much as Democrats, leading to longer lines and new threats of identity theft.

“Georgians of both parties have voted by mail for decades. Almost half a million Georgia Republicans did it just last year,” said a narrator, pointing to the roughly 450,000 absentee ballots in November that were cast for former President Donald Trump.

“The GOP knows voting by mail works – it was their idea. It’s how Republicans won Florida. Now these same politicians who passed these laws want to make it harder.”

The media blitz includes $1 million in TV spending and at least another $1 million on ads for digital, radio and mailers. It’s another facet of the intense political fight over voting rights spurred by Republican efforts to impose new restrictions after Democratic victories in Georgia in November and January.

The Georgia Senate on Tuesday approved the first in a raft of elections legislation by approving a measure to require more identification for absentee voting.

Under the measure, which passed largely along party lines, voters would have to provide a driver’s license number, state ID number or a copy of photo ID when requesting absentee ballots. Democrats framed it as onerous new restrictions that will make it harder for the poor and elderly to vote by mail.

It is a piece of an otherwise non-controversial package of Senate measures promoted by Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan. But other proposals are far more contentious, including a broad elections bill under consideration in the state House that would eliminate Sunday voting and limit ballot drop boxes.

Abrams, who started Fair Fight as she ended her 2018 gubernatorial bid, is widely expected to mount a rematch campaign against Gov. Brian Kemp and has made expanding voting rights a cornerstone of her platform. She’s set to testify at a U.S. House hearing on Thursday about federal electoral policy.

The new ad campaign is part of an overall Democratic strategy to complicate passage of the measures targeting vote-by-mail rules initially supported by state Republicans over decades in the Legislature.

Republicans have a solid advantage in the Georgia Legislature, but Democrats are trying to make it as politically unpalatable as possible by appealing to voters across party lines.

“The battlegrounds of Florida and Ohio have similar voting access to Georgia yet Republicans have been winning there,” said Lauren Groh-Wargo, the Fair Fight chief executive. “Those states should serve as a lesson for them on how access to the ballot can work in their party’s favor - if they do the work.”

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