“I feel very strongly that the Human Rights Campaign needs to do something meaningful in this space,” David said in an interview. “Voter suppression has primarily targeted voters of color, who also happen to include LGBTQ Americans, who far too often face disproportionate barriers in accessing their right to vote.”
The partnership will be announced at the HRC’s annual national dinner Saturday night in Washington via a video featuring Abrams and David.
Abrams has focused on challenging restrictive voting laws and policies since narrowly losing a bid for governor of Georgia last year. She cited widespread irregularities in that election, including laws that suspended tens of thousands of voter registration applications, purges that kicked more than 1 million voters off the rolls, the closing of polling places and lack of uniformity for counting absentee and provisional ballots. Abrams and others decried the decision by Republican Brian Kemp to continue in his role as secretary of state, Georgia’s chief elections officer, while also running for governor. He won the seat by fewer than 55,000 votes.
After ending her campaign, Abrams formed Fair Fight, which filed a federal lawsuit asking that Georgia officials be forced to make improvements in its election system.
Fair Fight 2020, which Abrams and her aides said would cost about $5 million, is offering state Democratic parties and liberal activists money and technical assistance to set up programs to identify and address potential barriers to voting, especially those affecting low-income, minority and young people.
Transgender voters also could run into difficulties over strict voter ID laws, David said, especially in states that insist that a person’s official documents conform to the gender assigned to them at birth.
“A transgender woman may be turned away from voting because she has not been able to get her name changed legally in state where she lives,” he said. “These types of challenges are further compounded for LGBTQ people of color.”
Part of the HRC’s work with Fair Fight will be doing research to “understand how the right to vote is being suppressed for LGBTQ communities,” he said.
David said HRC approached Fair Fight with help because he admires Abrams — the group backed her gubernatorial bid — and because of her work on voting rights.
“I am so proud to be building a partnership with the Human Rights Campaign — because this fight is all of our fight,” Abrams said in a statement. “We must make sure that LGBTQ voters and all voters across the country are able to register, to vote, and to have their vote counted — no matter who they are, what they look like or whom they love.”
David said the HRC has long been involved in voter registration efforts, including having signed up 30,000 new voters for last year’s midterm elections.
“We’ve been working to turn out the vote, but that’s not enough,” David said. “We have to protect the votes when [people] show up and make sure their votes are counted after they vote.”