In a speech to her supporters on Friday night, Democrat Stacey Abrams acknowledged that she’d lost the Georgia governor’s race to Republican Brian Kemp.
She noted that she isn’t conceding, since the election was plagued by voter suppression. “I will not concede, because the erosion of our democracy is not right,” she said.
But she’s giving up trying to change the results.
“I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial elections,” Abrams said at a news conference.
While Kemp had declared himself the winner the day after the election, Abrams, who would have been the first black woman governor in the nation, had been fighting for a recount. She detailed on Friday afternoon the ways in which Kemp, who oversaw his own election as Georgia’s secretary of state, purged eligible voters from the rolls.
“More than a million citizens found their names stripped from the rolls by the Secretary of State, including a 92-year-old civil rights activist,” she said, adding that “democracy failed Georgia.”
There were numerous accounts of voting difficulties in Georgia on Tuesday ― particularly for people of color. Voters were denied a ballot and turned away from the polls because they hadn’t voted in the last three years and/or the last two federal elections, and Kemp’s office had purged hundreds of thousands of people from the rolls for “inactivity.”
The Associated Press reported that Kemp’s office put 53,000 voter registration applications on hold ― 70 percent of them from people of color ― because of the state’s controversial “exact match” law.
Voters in Gwinnett County, a diverse swing district north of Atlanta where Abrams canvassers had focused their turnout efforts, were forced to wait hours in line because the voting machines lacked power cords and ran out of paper and batteries.
“I know that eight years of systemic disenfranchisement, disinvestment and incompetence had its desired effect on the electoral process in Georgia,” Abrams said.
Kemp denies any attempts at voter suppression.
CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to note that Kemp formally declared victory the day after the election, not on election night.