Fact-checkers give Stacey Abrams a pass on victory claim

Fine, let’s have a go at the broader context and assume Abrams is saying “I won” based on the belief that the process was unfair and that there was voter suppression. In her “non-concession speech” last fall, Abrams claimed, “Despite a record high population in Georgia, more than a million citizens found their names stripped from the rolls by the secretary of state.” Adding to the suspicion is the fact that the secretary of state who did this is Brian Kemp, her opponent in the election. It is indeed true that Kemp’s office purged 1.4 million voter registrations in Georgia since 2010.

But it is misleading to suggest that by removing voters from the rolls Kemp was doing anything suspect. Secretaries of state are required by law to purge voter registrations. “The 1993 National Voter Registration Act mandates that state and local elections officers keep voter registration lists accurate by removing the names of people who die, move or fail in successive elections to vote. Voters who’ve been convicted of a felony, ruled mentally incompetent or found to be noncitizens also can be removed,” notes a joint Carnegie-Knight News21 report on the Center for Public Integrity’s website. “The U.S. Election Assistance Commission reported that 15 million names were scrubbed from the lists nationally in 2014.”

So, the purging of voter rolls in Georgia was not abnormal, and in fact, is required by federal law. Nonetheless, in her recent New York Times op-ed Abrams again makes the unsupported claim that this is being done for suspect purposes. “Across the country, voter purges employ an easily manipulated ‘use it or lose it’ rule, under which eligible voters who exercised their First Amendment right to abstain from voting in prior elections can be booted off the rolls,” she writes.

Yet there’s no real reason to believe that this rule is being “manipulated.”