Stacey Abrams isn't running for president — she's launching a voter protection program

Ed Komenda
Reno Gazette-Journal

LAS VEGAS –  Stacey Abrams will not run for president in 2020 – but the former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate has launched a campaign to protect voters.

Standing in front of a room of labor workers from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades at a convention in Las Vegas, Abrams announced plans for a multimillion-dollar initiative called Fair Fight 2020 to staff and fund voter protection teams in battleground states across the country ahead of the 2020 elections.

“We’re going to have a fair fight in 2020,” Abrams said. “I’m going to use my energies, and my very, very loud voice to raise the money we need to train those across the country in our 20 battleground states to make sure that Donald Trump and the Senate take a hike and we put people in place who know what we need to have.”

The announcement of Abrams, who lost to Republican Brian Kemp in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election, silenced some speculation about whether she planned to run for president. An aide familiar with the decision said she’ll focus on the new program rather than run for president herself.

Abrams said she will instead fight against what she characterized as voter suppression.

“My job is to be the voice of those who don’t think they are heard,” Abrams said, giving some examples. “People who turned in their ballots in good faith only to find they were thrown away because their signatures didn’t match the card they signed 10 years ago. My signature doesn’t match from Kroger CVS.”

Abrams mentioned thousands of voters who took paid time off from to stand in line for hours only to get a provisional ballot at polling places.

“Told ‘come back in the next three days and make sure It counts,'” she said, “knowing they’re not going to get another day off from work.”

Fair Fight 2020 aims to train people to work polling places, build a better system for counting ballots and launch a hotline polling places can use to navigate any voting problems.

Abrams didn’t comment on how much Fair Fight 2020 would cost, but the effort could reportedly cost between $4 million and $5 million.

“We have to tell the true story, and the true story is: This is our country,” Abrams said. “And our voices will be heard, and in 2020, we will shout louder and harder and more than we ever have before, because this is our time and the power is ours and we will not let anyone take it from us.”

Contributing: The Associated Press. 

Ed Komenda writes about Las Vegas for the Reno Gazette Journal and USA Today Network. Do you care about democracy? Then support local journalism by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal right here