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Terry McAuliffe Embraces Stacey Abrams’s Stolen Election Conspiracy Theory

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe speaks during his campaign rally in Richmond, Va., October 23, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee for governor in Virginia, held an event on Sunday with Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor in Georgia back in 2018.

At the rally, McAuliffe took to the stage to declare that “she [Abrams] would be the governor of Georgia today had the governor of Georgia [Republican Brian Kemp] not disenfranchised 1.4 million Georgia voters before the election! That’s what happened to Stacey Abrams. They took the votes away.”

In fact, Abrams lost to Kemp by almost 55,000 votes. McAuliffe’s claim that 1.4 million Georgians were disenfranchised comes from the total number of voters who have been removed from the state’s voter rolls since 2012. McAuliffe does not expand on how he got this number because people are removed for all sorts of easily explainable reasons — people die, move, commit felonies, etc.

The most controversial reason for which voters were removed — a mandate that after three years of being out of contact with the elections system and failing to respond to a final notice, voters be removed from the rolls — has analogues in other states and was enacted by a Democratic governor and Democratic-controlled legislature in 1997. As Georgia’s secretary of state at the time of the election, Kemp was legally obligated to carry out this routine maintenance of the election system.

McAuliffe’s embrace of this theory comes as polls tighten in Virginia, with several recent surveys showing Republican Glenn Youngkin ahead. Notably, McAuliffe’s main line of attack against Youngkin has been that Youngkin is too close with former president Donald Trump and has embraced Trump’s 2020 election conspiracy theories.

While McAuliffe’s demonstrably false assertion that 1.4 million Georgians were disenfranchised could be extrapolated out to support Trump’s theory that millions were disenfranchised across the country, Youngkin has repeatedly acknowledged that Joe Biden was legitimately elected and condemned the January 6 Capitol riot.

McAuliffe has a long history of questioning the legitimacy of American elections. As chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2004, McAuliffe used his platform at the party convention to argue that Republicans “stole” the 2000 election.

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