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Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams made false claims when attacking True the Vote on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday, January 3. Those claims were not challenged or even questioned by host Jake Tapper.
It is not the first time that Abrams has maligned True the Vote on CNN without being asked to back up her claims.
Tapper brought up Abrams having refused to call the 2018 election of Gov. Brian Kemp legitimate. He then asked about Georgia Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff claiming the Georgia special election is being tampered with by voter suppression, while simultaneously claiming the Georgia vote was pristine when the result was a Joe Biden win. "How do you explain to a swing voter, say, in suburban Atlanta, who looks at all this and says, 'hey how come when Joe Biden wins Democrats say everything went swimmingly, but when Democrats lose or are setting the stage to potentially lose, then all the sudden the fix is in?" asked Tapper.
"We have been very consistent about the description of and the discussion of voter suppression. Any attempt to prevent or discourage a voter from casting a ballot is voter suppression," said Abrams. "What Jon [Ossoff] is referring to is the True the Vote challenge to 364,000 voters based on the pretext that, because they may have forwarded their mail to another location because of military deployment, because of being students, or because of temporary work assignments, they're suddenly invalid voters. That is absolutely untrue. It's an unfounded idea," Abrams said.
"Absolutely untrue" and "unfounded" are an entirely fitting choice of words, but for Abrams' claims, not anything True the Vote has done. As was explicitly stated in the challenges, and plainly explained on video in election board hearings across the state (as seen on video here), reasons such as military deployment and college were excluded from the challenger wherever known.
More importantly, however, is the glaring untruth that any voters were claimed to be "invalid" or in any way removed from voter rolls. The citizen challenges are simply designed to seek and initiate verification of the eligibility of a voter - here, based on their residency. It is a process provided for under the law, and which utilizes the same data and criteria as is mandated for each county to use for periodic cleaning and validation of the rolls.
Abrams continued with her statements about True the Vote, telling Jake Tapper that "we know that a court has said they're disturbed by what they're seeing."
In fact, a court ruled for True the Vote and against efforts by Abrams' own Fair Fight as recently as just three days before this interview. It was major news, and this false claim and characterization should have been challenged by Tapper, especially considering that it involves his guest's own organization.
Abrams was not quite yet finished, though, adding that Ossoff's comments are "responding to True to Vote, an organization out of Texas, with a long history of voter intimidation and suppression."
This is a blatant smear without any foundation that again went entirely unchallenged. Nor did CNN offer True the Vote a chance to respond to the malicious character assassination.
"I have never fought to overturn the outcome of the election. I have only ever fought to ensure that voters have the right to be heard," said Abrams in her summation, after Tapper asked whether the losing parties in the special election should accept the result. "And as long as the system permits voters to cast their ballots and have those votes counted, as opposed to being unlawfully challenged based on spurious information, which is what True the Vote and certain Republicans are attempting to do, that's the difference."
Once again, Abrams chose a word that better suits her own statements than anything True the Vote has said or done, when she used the word "spurious", which is an entirely apt description of her accusation.
The citizen challenges in Georgia are entirely lawful. They are based on valid, publicly available information which is the same information used by the counties and the state for verification, and the challenges were undertaken irrespective of party affiliation, an easily verifiable fact of the data.
Stacey Abrams made false claims in attacking True the Vote on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday. She falsely claimed that True the Vote has a history of trying to suppress votes, falsely claimed that citizen challenges were unlawful, falsely claimed that the information was "spurious," falsely claimed that True the Vote targeted forwarded mail for military members and college students, falsely claimed that True the Vote called anyone an "invalid" voter, and falsely suggested courts in Georgia haven't ruled in favor of True the Vote.
None of those things are true, and none of them were questioned or pushed-back on by CNN or Jake Tapper.
Abrams did say one true thing, though. "We need to make certain our democracy works for everyone. That should be the highest and most paramount goal of every single elector, every single person in our democracy," she told Tapper in conclusion. "And to the extent anyone says that it is okay to disavow and push someone out of the democracy because you don't like the choices they make, that's not right."
Aside from labeling our constitutional democratic republic a democracy, that's a true statement. It is not right to disavow or push someone out. In fact it is exactly that kind of inequity that True the Vote fights by working to ensure the integrity of our electoral process.
True the Vote (TTV) is an IRS-designated 501(c)3 voters' rights organization, founded to inspire and equip volunteers for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information, please visit www.truethevote.org.