Georgia: Was its election legitimate?
If Georgia’s governor election had happened in another country, said Carol Anderson in TheAtlantic.com, the U.S. State Department “would not have hesitated to question its legitimacy.” Republican Brian Kemp won a narrow 55,000-vote victory (out of nearly 4 million votes cast) over Democrat Stacey Abrams, who would have been the first black woman elected governor of any state. But as Georgia’s secretary of state, Kemp oversaw the election he was running in. All told, “the voter suppression king” purged more than 1.5 million voters from the rolls for not voting in recent elections, disproportionately affecting low-income and minority voters. Kemp also suspended 53,000 registrations that did not exactly match state databases, said Ari Berman in MotherJones.com. On Election Day, many voters waited more than four hours to cast ballots because county officials have shut down 214 polling places since 2014, most of them in predominantly black neighborhoods. “We’ll probably never know how many people were disenfranchised.”
Sorry, but Abrams “lost fair and square,” said Rich Lowry in NationalReview.com. It was perfectly legal under Georgia’s state constitution for Kemp to remain secretary of state while running for governor. The Supreme Court has also upheld the “use it or lose it” rules that Kemp used to purge nonvoters, which prevents fraud by keeping the rolls up to date. As for the suspended registrations, those voters were still able to cast provisional ballots if they had photo ID. “Everyone knew the rules beforehand, and they weren’t unreasonable.” Nevertheless, while Abrams has acknowledged that Kemp is the “legal” governor-elect, she pointedly refuses to call his election “legitimate.” Apparently, “the Left can’t decide whether it opposes casting doubt on election results or insists on it.”
Kemp’s actions were undeniably “odious,” said Richard Hasen in Slate.com, but Abrams and her allies need to stop suggesting that the election was “stolen.” That kind of rhetoric only feeds into the “growing cycle of mistrust and delegitimization of the election process” promoted by President Trump, who might very well claim that the 2020 election is illegitimate. Instead, Democrats should focus their efforts on making it easier for everyone to vote and convincing people why that’s important, regardless of who wins. Our democracy “depends on losers accepting election results, even if the election was not conducted perfectly.” ■