Georgia GOP Elections Official Gabriel Sterling Doesn’t Want Stacey Abrams ‘Diluting’ His Vote With Democracy
Georgia GOP voting system manager Gabriel Sterling responded last week to a tweet from someone who lamented that “nobody is going to be satisfied until their pick is president, regardless of what the truth is."
Sterling caught the both sides ball and ran with it:
STERLING: This ... this right here. The losers in elections claiming it was stolen ... be it Stacey Abrams or Donald Trump are hurting America in general for their own ends. Two sides ... same coin.
This is vile smear of a woman who has dedicated her life to ensuring as many Americans as possible can exercise their constitutional right to vote.
Stacey Abrams isn't part of the same coin as Donald Trump. She doesn't share the same currency with a former president who pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find votes" in his shameless effort to overturn the election results.
Republicans like Sterling want to drag Abrams into the mud with Trump because she dared suggest it was wrong that Brian Kemp, her opponent in the 2018 governor's race, was simultaneously administering that election as secretary of state. Kemp improperly purged voter rolls and for BS reasons wouldn't process more than 53,000 vote registration forms a month before the election. (The Associated Press estimated that 70 percent of those voters were Black). These were actual events that happened, not delusional fantasies about self-aware Dominion voting machines flipping votes to Joe Biden.
Yes, Abrams famously didn't concede the governor's election, but she accepted the results. She told the New York Times in April, 2019, "I legally acknowledge that Brian Kemp secured a sufficient number of votes under our existing system to become the governor of Georgia. I do not concede that the process was proper, nor do I condone that process."
Abrams also didn't raise an angry mob against Georgia elections officials. When she acknowledged defeat on November 16, 2018, she told her supporters:
I implore each of you to not give in to that anger or apathy but instead turn to action. Because the antidote to injustice is progress. The cure to this malpractice is a fight for fairness in every election held – in every law passed – in every decision made.
You'd think Sterling would appreciate the difference in rhetoric. Trump's refusal to accept his obvious and clear loss led to harassment and death threats against elections officials and their families. Abrams meanwhile worked to make elections in Georgia legitimately free and fair.
A Twitter user asked Sterling why “only one side is trying to restrict voting access." His response was revealing.
STERLING: When you remove all barriers you allow for dilution of votes. (A) vote diluted is a vote denied.
According to the Constitution, every US citizen who is at least 18 years of age can vote. (We'll debate the ban against felons another time.) Turnout in 2020 was just 67 percent of eligible voters, and that was still a record. The problem isn't that too many people are voting.
Sterling is part of a proud tradition of white men skeptical of full political franchise. James Madison worried that if everyone could vote, "the rights of property [owners] ...may be overruled by a majority without property ...." Oh no! Opponents of women's suffrage argued that women voting would only double the electorate without adding any value.
However, the phrase "a vote diluted is a vote denied" is not only objectively false, but it's similar to the Don't-Call-It-White-Replacement-Theory Tucker Carlson recently regurgitated on air.
"If you change the population, you dilute the political power of the people who live there," [said Carlson]. "So every time they import a new voter, I'd become disenfranchised as a current voter. … Everyone wants to make a racial issue out of it. Oh, White replacement — No. This is a voting rights question. I have less political power because they're importing a brand new electorate. Why should I sit back and take that?"
Stacey Abrams is fighting for the rights of everyone, not just people who might vote for her. Republicans, including Gabriel Sterling, don't. That's the sinister point of all these voter suppression laws.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."