“Kamala Harris says voter suppression kept Stacey Abrams, Andrew Gillum out of office. Really?”


In a speech to the NAACP, Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris called for changing election laws to “fight back against those Republicans who suppress our constitutional right to vote.”
Harris, a U.S. senator from California, pointed to the outcome of two close races for governor in the South.

“Let’s say this loud and clear — without voter suppression, Stacey Abrams would be the governor of Georgia, Andrew Gillum is the governor of Florida,” Harris told the NAACP in Detroit May 5.

It isn’t possible to prove if any election law or policy in either state cost the Democrats their elections, so we aren’t rating the statement by Harris on the Truth-O-Meter. However, our review found there’s more to the story of why these Democrats lost both races.

Harris has a weaker case for blaming voter suppression in Gillum’s loss. Among other issues, Gillum faced ties to an FBI investigation during his campaign

In explaining Abrams’ loss, Harris faulted controversial actions by Brian Kemp, who was the Republican secretary of state in charge of state elections before he beat Abrams to become Georgia governor.
While Kemp made some controversial decisions that probably hurt Democrats overall, it is difficult to determine exactly how many people were prevented from voting, said Daniel P. Tokaji, who teaches election law at Ohio State University.

“The only really honest answer is that no one knows for sure how much voting was depressed by the alleged acts of ‘voter suppression’ by former Secretary of State Kemp,” he said. “It’s not necessarily inaccurate for Sen. Harris to make this claim, but it is speculative.”…

Richard Hasen, an election law expert at University of California, Irvine, has said Democrats should cool it with rhetoric that the Georgia race was “stolen.”

“I have seen no good evidence that the suppressive effects of strict voting and registration laws affected the outcome of the governor’s races in Georgia and Florida,” he told PolitiFact. “It would be one thing to claim, as some have, that these laws are aimed to suppress the vote and likely suppressed some votes. It is quite another to claim that there is good proof they affected the outcome.”


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