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The November 3rd presidential election is right around the corner—but according to Stacey Abrams, the planning starts now to prepare for an entire voting season. The politician and voting rights activist stopped by :BLACKPRINT for a Zoom interview last week to talk about her new documentary, All In: The Fight for Democracy, and the overall importance of voting—starting at the local level.
The film, starring Abrams as well as Ari Berman and David Pepper, discusses the history of voter suppression and activists paving the way for equality in the United States. As the documentary uncovers the barriers in the voting system, Abrams relays that change can come—just not overnight. “It is not a magic pill. It is not salvation. It is progress, because that's how we pick the people who make decisions,” she told People’s C. Tiffany Lee during the virtual interview. “And those of us who are okay with the decisions that get made, it's because we've had people who care about the lives we lead.”
When asked who is responsible for change and the decisions that ultimately impact local communities, Abrams—who is also the first Black woman to become a gubernatorial nominee for a major party in the United States—shared that “it's your state legislatures. That's why you have to pay attention to the state level. That's why I ran for governor, because it is state legislators and governors who make the decisions about what's going to happen at the state and local level. And the implementation is the purview of your secretary of state.”
She went on to note that in the midst of the general election, make sure you actually have your plans in place to vote—whether it’s by mail-in ballot or in-person voting.
“You can either be the person who shops in October or the person who shops the day after Christmas for the following year,” she explains of the voting preparation process.
“The person who does absentee balloting, you're shopping right on December 26th, buying all your stuff for next year. Early voting is the person who shops in October. You don't want to be the person whose only option is shopping on Christmas Eve. So make your plan—so in case you have to do Christmas Eve, it's because you've tried everything else, not because you forgot and had to show up.”
As voters begin to cast their ballots early, everyone’s sights should still be set on the entire voting process instead of on one day. “I encourage everyone to talk about it as election season, not election day. Because as long as we have this narrative that it's a day, that's last call,” she said. “You want all the time in the world to get there. So, the media needs to talk about this 'election season' and 'election days.' Don't make it a single day because then people panic—or, worse, they wait and delay.”
Election season is a long process, but Abrams urges voters to get involved along the way with voting-centric organizations, like Fair Fight Action, and to remember that your voice matters in ending the systemic issues in our society. “Do not get sucked into the maelstrom of crazy,” she adds. “We want to keep our eyes focused on the prize, which is our votes counting in this upcoming election, because we all have to be all in for democracy.
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