Feb 28, 2022 - Business

Stacey Abrams speaks on Ukraine and conceding in 2022

Profile photo of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams smiling
Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Stacey Abrams, Democratic voting rights activist and candidate for Georgia governor, says the Ukraine situation is "not a question of Putin, it's a question of Ukrainian democracy working."

Why it matters: "We are watching across this world the attacks on democracy, and they are more salient and more effective than they've ever been,” she tells Axios in an interview. “And the United States is not immune."

The big picture: Abrams’ remarks came during a broader interview about her voting rights advocacy and her gubernatorial bids this year and in 2018.

  • She was asked during the interview whether a refusal to concede, as she did in 2018, emboldens former President Trump and his allies, who continue to question the integrity of the election system.
  • "I don't ever want us to be in a place as Americans where we cannot legitimately question and critique systems and try to make them better," she said.

Of note: Abrams tells Axios she "will acknowledge the victor" of the 2022 election. "I will always acknowledge the legal outcome of an election. I have never failed to do that."

Driving the news: A federal judge has scheduled an April trial in a sweeping lawsuit Abrams filed in reaction to the 2018 election, through her organization, Fair Fight Action, challenging Georgia's voting system.

  • The judge has thrown out most of Fair Fight's original complaints.
  • The challenge is now more narrowly focused on the state's policy for matching voter registration information, also known as "exact match," the process for canceling an absentee ballot request when a voter shows up in person and voter list maintenance.

The former state lawmaker has faced scrutiny from Republicans because of her reaction to the 2018 loss, which she blames on policies she argues amounted to voter suppression. Republicans argue she, too, has sown distrust in the system.

  • In a speech 10 days after that election she said, "I will not concede because the erosion of our democracy is not right."
  • Her opponent, then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp — now the governor — has repeatedly rejected the allegations.

Between the lines: Abrams did not seek to overturn the results of her 2018 race against Kemp — and she's balked at any comparison to Trump's campaign to overturn the 2020 election.

  • "What Trump has done is invalidate systems because he didn't like the personal effect," she said. "And he's provided no information or proof of his allegations."
  • "I should be held accountable for everything I say, be able to tie it to evidentiary facts. And that's what I've been doing. And that's what I'll continue to do."
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