The race for Georgia’s best electoral officer in 2022 is already taking shape. The first major democratic challenge comes from MP Bee Nguyen – an Asian American who is fighting for the right to vote in the state parliament.
Nguyen announced Tuesday that she has launched her campaign to become Georgia’s secretary of state, a move just over a month after the state’s Republican lawmakers passed an extremely restrictive law to suppress voters.
“Republicans have done everything in their power to silence the votes of voters who chose an America that works for all of us, not just some of us,” she said in her video, in which the campaign was announced. “But we will not allow anyone to stand in the way of our right to a free and fair democracy.”
Nguyen would be the first Asian American to hold a national political office in Georgian history. The lack of Asian-American representation in elected offices increases up to the federal government. A new report says that Asian Americans and Pacific islanders represented less than 1% of elected leaders at the federal, state and local levels last year, despite making up about 6% of the US population.
There’s no better way to kick off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month than to announce my historic candidacy, tweeted the 39-year-old daughter of Vietnamese refugees, who became only the second Asian-American Democrat when she was elected at Georgia House in 2016.
Nguyen currently occupies the seat that was once held by voting rights master Stacey Abrams, who left the state parliament to ultimately run unsuccessfully for governor against Brian Kemp, who was Georgia’s state secretary at the time. The state representative has continued Abrams’ fight at the Georgia State Capitol and helped democratic efforts to reverse a voter registration that sparked controversy in the medium term in 2018.
After President Donald Trump’s campaign released a list of Georgian voters who were falsely alleged to have voted illegally because they no longer lived in Georgia, the state representative tracked down 128 of them personally in order to be eligible to vote check. A 12-minute interaction recorded on viral video showed Nguyen how phone calls, basic online searches, and visits to the homes of Georgians on Trump’s list proved they were indeed legitimate voters.
“I was at the forefront of the fight against voter suppression laws in Georgia,” Nguyen told the New York Times this week. “When I saw how everything played out with the erosion of our democracy in 2020, I realized how important it was to defend our right to vote.”
Their possible victory would turn the seat of Republican Foreign Secretary Brad Raffensperger, who came into the limelight for publicly rejecting Trump’s demands to overturn Georgia’s election results from November onwards. He debunked the former president’s claims that Georgia’s election was fraudulent and denied Trump’s request to “find” enough votes to make him the state’s electoral winner.
Raffensperger faced widespread backlash from the GOP due to his disobedience to the Trump regime, and many members of the state party asked him to resign. Trump himself has pledged to use his leverage to fight the Secretary of State and support MP Jody Hice, a staunch Republican ally of the former president with a history of promoting his election lies, in the primary. Republicans in Georgia have also targeted Raffensberger through a provision in the new electoral law that severely weakens the secretary’s power in the republic State Election Board, something a successor would also face.
Nguyen told the Times that Raffensperger deserved to stand up to Trump and reject his lies about election fraud. However, she stressed that, since the November elections, the Foreign Minister has supported the new Georgian law led by the GOP, which imposes restrictions on voting rights that disproportionately affect many colored people, e. B. the requirement of a photo ID for postal ballot papers and the restriction of the availability of ballot boxes.
According to Nguyen, she would use her position to advocate better training for election workers and to call for the removal of the new racist election restrictions that she believes are aimed at helping Georgia Democrats win the November and runoff elections to punish in January. She also said her office would “prioritize accessibility, efficiency and equity in voting,” according to the Atlanta Journal constitution.
Next year’s mid-term election in Georgia would reflect the changing demographics of the battlefield state and the increased drive by Democrats to preserve and expand the basic right to vote should Abrams run again and Nguyen go into the general election. Georgia’s Secretary of State for Elections, usually an unremarkable occurrence, will be a voting race closely watched by the rest of the country.
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