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The 2022 race for Georgia’s top election official is already taking shape, with its first major democratic challenge coming from state representative Bee Nguyen – an Asian American who fights for the right to vote in the legislature of the state.

Nguyen announced on Tuesday that she has launched her campaign to become Georgia’s secretary of state – a move that comes just over a month after Republican lawmakers in the state passed an extremely restrictive voter suppression law. .

“Republicans have done everything in their power to silence the voices of voters who have chosen an America that works for all of us and not just some of us,” she said in her video announcing the countryside. “But we will not allow anyone to oppose our right to a free and fair democracy.”

Nguyen would be the first Asian American to hold a state-wide political post in Georgian history. The lack of representation of Asian-Americans in elected positions can be traced back to the federal government, with a new report indicating that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders made up less than 1% of elected leaders at the federal, state and local levels. last year, when they made up about 6% of the United States. population.

There is “no better way to kick off” Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month “than by announcing my historic candidacy,” the 39-year-old tweeted Vietnamese refugee daughter who became only the second Asian American Democrat at Georgia House when she was elected in 2016.

Nguyen currently occupies the seat once held by voting rights champion Stacey Abrams, who left the state legislature to run, ultimately unsuccessfully, for governor against Brian Kemp, then Secretary of State. from Georgia. The state representative continued Abrams’ fight in the Georgia state capitol, helping Democrats roll back an “exact” voter registration that sparked controversy midway through 2018.

After President Donald Trump’s campaign released a list of voters in Georgia who they claimed falsely claimed to have voted illegally because they no longer lived in Georgia, the state representative personally traced 128 of them. among themselves to verify their eligibility to vote. A 12-minute interaction captured on a video that went viral showed Nguyen demonstrating how phone calls, basic online searches and home visits of Georgians on Trump’s list proved they were indeed legitimate voters .

“I have been at the forefront of the fight against voter suppression laws in Georgia,” Nguyen told The New York Times this week. “Watching everything unfold in 2020 with the erosion of our democracy, I recognized how essential it is to defend our right to vote.”

His potential victory would overthrow the seat of Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who has been put in the spotlight for publicly refusing Trump’s demands to overturn the Georgian election results in November. He refuted the former president’s claims that the Georgia election was plagued by voter fraud, and he rejected Trump’s demand to “find” enough votes to make him the winner of the electoral votes in the United States. ‘State.

Raffensperger has faced a widespread backlash from the GOP over his disobedience to the Trump regime, with many members of the state party calling on him to step down. Trump himself has vowed to use his influence to campaign against the Secretary of State, backing State Representative Jody Hice, a staunch Republican ally of the former president with a history of promoting his election lies, in primary. Georgia Republicans have also targeted Raffensberger through a provision in the new voting law that severely weakens the Secretary of State’s power over the State Election Board, which a successor would also face.

Nguyen told The Times Raffensperger deserves credit for standing up to Trump and dismissing his lies about voter fraud. But she pointed out that since the November elections, the Secretary of State has backed Georgia’s new GOP-led law that imposes restrictions on voting rights that disproportionately affect people of color, such as the requirement to ” photo identification for postal ballots and limitation of the availability of ballot boxes.

According to Nguyen, she would use her position to advocate for more vigorous training of polling officers and demand the removal of new racist voting restrictions which she says are intended to punish Georgia Democrats for their victory in the November election. and in the second round of the Senate in January. She also said her office would “prioritize accessibility, efficiency and fairness” in voting, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Georgia’s midterm elections next year would reflect the changing demographics of the Battlefield State and intensified efforts by Democrats to preserve and expand basic voting rights if Abrams runs again and Nguyen does. in general elections. The election of Georgia’s secretary of state, usually a low-key event, will be a race to the bottom closely watched by the rest of the country.

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