Prominent Georgia Democrat and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams has gone viral on social media for her measured response to a Republican lawmaker on why a new Georgia voting law is racist.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday heard testimony from Ms Abrams, during which Sen John Kennedy asked Ms Abrams whether she believes specific voting laws are “racist” or not.
Ms Abrams, who has been widely credited with encouraging and facilitating unprecedented Black voter participation in her state in 2020, has condemned the new voter legislation.
“I think there are provisions of it that are racist, yes,” she responded before the senator asked her to prove her point with a “list” of the provisions she disagrees with.
Following the question, she went on to comprehensively rattle off all the provisions of the bill she had an issue with, in a calm and measured manner.
“It shortens the federal run-off period from nine weeks to four weeks. It restricts the time a voter can request and return an absentee ballot application,” she said.
She continued: “It requires that a voter have a photo identification or some other form of identification that they are willing to surrender in order to participate in an absentee ballot process.”
Ms Abrams went on to explain how this measure would make Georgia “only the fourth state in the nation to require voters to put at risk their identity” before Mr Kennedy asked her: “What else?”
“It eliminates over 300 hours of dropbox availability,” Ms Abrams continued without hesitation. “It bans nearly all out of precinct votes.”
“Is that everything?,” the senator pushes, prompting the Georgia Democrat to laugh slightly and say: “No it is not. No sir.”
Ms Abrams continued on to her next point, explaining how the bill “restricts hours of operation under the guise of setting a standardised timeline” and then begins her next before Mr Kennedy interrupts saying: “OK. I get the idea.”
Social media users were quick to praise Ms Abrams for her handling of the situation and her repeated rebuffs against the Republican lawmaker.
“If you watch even a couple minutes of this testimony you’ll see @staceyabrams do what she does best,” the former secretary of state of Missouri, Jason Kander, said.
“Respectfully and seriously make a compelling argument without alienating viewers who don’t yet agree with her. Her professionalism never comes at the expense of passion.”
“Do. Not. Come. For. Stacey. Abrams,” actor Steven Pasquale also responded online.
“Kennedy interrupts several times to try and throw Stacey off. It doesn’t work and he is sorry he asked,” one user commented.
“When you ask a brilliant woman a question you do not believe she is prepared to answer, you start cutting her off every chance you get,” another person said. “You can’t play ball in her court. You’re outclassed, outwitted, and unprepared.”
“’I get the idea.’ Translation: ‘Stop answering my question. You’re making me look bad,’” one person said.
Democrats and voting rights groups have condemned the passage of the bill as they say the law will disproportionately disenfranchise voters of colour.