In this impassioned and carefully researched account, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Abrams (Lead from the Outside) examines the methods and consequences of voter suppression in America and explains why she won’t officially concede her 2018 race against Republican Brian Kemp. Abrams sketches the history of minority disenfranchisement from the 1857 Supreme Court decision barring African-Americans from citizenship to the 2013 voiding of federal preclearance requirements for electoral changes in districts covered under the 1965 Voting Rights Act. She also documents how the “exact match” system Kemp installed when he served as Georgia’s secretary of state “led to 53,000 voter registrations being held hostage in 2018, 80 percent of whom were people of color.” Voter suppression has helped fuel the recent proliferation of laws targeting abortion providers, she contends, despite a “national consensus” in favor of the right to an abortion. Abrams’s reform proposals include federal laws mandating automatic registration for eligible voters, outreach to marginalized communities about the importance of the census, and national staffing and equipment standards for polling places. Blending personal history, statistical analysis, and detailed policy proposals, Abrams presents a persuasive, if wonkish, argument that any progressive legislative agenda must begin with voting reform. Liberals will be inspired. (June)
A People Magazine Book of the Week
“Our Time Is Now is not a political memoir or a long-form résumé; rather, it is a striking manifesto, a stirring indictment and a straightforward road map to victory...She portrays her constituents and their concerns in such a way that they feel more actual than symbolic, more individual than indicative. When she turns her gaze onto her family, her narrative gifts are in full flower."—Tayari Jones, The New York Times Book Review
"Stacey Abrams’s powerful, deeply moving book shines a bright light on the ongoing attacks on the sacred, constitutional right to the ballot. Stacey provides everyday Americans and political leaders alike with the tools that are urgently needed to confront and defeat the forces that seek to deny Americans their voice in our democracy. The right to vote is the foundation of our freedom and a key pillar of our democracy, and we must all fight to ensure that all Americans have a say in their nation’s future." —Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
“The tensions between patience and urgency, between fear and resolve, between the promise of someday and the demands of right now, are at the heart of Our Time Is Now. Abrams covers plenty of territory—identity politics, voting rights, and the frustrations and revelations of her gubernatorial race but above all, she writes about the grinding work required to make real the compact of democratic participation.” —The Washington Post
"Stacey Abrams’s Our Time Is Now outlines a dynamic blueprint for how each of us can reshape the future of our democracy. Her ability to rise above her own political struggles and transform her learned experience into a saving grace for marginalized communities is breathtaking. With each page, she inspires and empowers us to create systems that reflect a world in which all voices are heard and all people believe and feel that they matter." —Kerry Washington
“A detailed exposé of how our democracy has been eroded—and a plan to fix it—from an up-and-coming national leader. If you are feeling hopeless about politics, this well-informed blueprint for change may begin to restore your faith.” —Kirkus Reviews, *starred review*
"No one understands the dangers or realities of voter suppression quite like Abrams. Her expertise and passion for the rights of underrepresented people should be igniting to anyone who cares about democracy. Sign me up for the future that Stacey Abrams envisions." —Hasan Minaj, host of "The Patriot Act"
“[Abrams’] practical approach is inspiring, even comforting, in the current moment.” —People
"From climate change to income inequality, voter suppression is threatening to undermine the most important issues facing our country today. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to see our democracy reflect the will of all people, and not just the will of America’s most privileged." —Issa Rae, writer and producer
“For a nation in the throes of a pandemic and wracked by four years of polarized politics, this is an important and timely book.” —Booklist, *starred review*
"Stacey Abrams is not only a passionate advocate of democracy, but also an inspiring example of how to practice it. In Our Time Is Now, she exposes systematic voter suppression efforts across America, and tells us what we need to do to fight back. This book is an essential toolkit for citizens of all backgrounds who believe, as I do, that democracy is not a spectator sport." —Madeleine K. Albright, former United States Secretary of State
"Following her historic run for Governor of Georgia in 2018, Stacey Abrams led a nationwide effort to empower and enfranchise voters to participate in our democratic process. With Our Time is Now, she’s now set out a comprehensive roadmap for engaging those voters, tearing down barriers to participation, and making our democracy live up to its highest ideals." —Julian Castro, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
“[An] impassioned and carefully researched account…Blending personal history, statistical analysis, and detailed policy proposals, Abrams presents a persuasive, if wonkish, argument that any progressive legislative agenda must begin with voting reform. Liberals will be inspired.” —Publishers Weekly
“Stacey Abrams’s new book isn’t a traditional political memoir…[it’s] an in-depth history of voting rights in this country and an analysis of what the future may hold if lawmakers fix voter suppression nationwide—or if they do not.”—Fortune
In 2018, politician, lawyer, and author Abrams ran for governor in the state of Georgia. As a progressive Democrat, Abrams aimed to appeal to working-class Blacks, those in the LGBTQ community, and Latinx Americans. She proved successful in reaching these groups; however, she lost to Republican Brian Kemp amid charges of voter suppression through gerrymandering and irregularities in voter registration and ID requirements. In this newest work, Abrams chronicles her campaign; the history of voter suppression, especially its impact on Black communities; and the importance of voting. Through historical research and personal history, Abrams makes a compelling case for the importance of people's right to vote. She acknowledges that the system of voting in the United States is flawed and the founding of the country is problematic, if not outright hypocritical. Yet, she maintains that it is not hopeless if politicians grant and recognize the importance of those who exist on society's margins. VERDICT Insight into Abrams and her personal and political journey are the main strengths of this important book. Those not familiar with U.S. voting history will find it to be especially informative.—Leah Huey, Dekalb P.L., IL
A detailed exposé of how our democracy has been eroded—and a plan to fix it—from an up-and-coming national leader.
“My parents raised the six of us in Mississippi, my mother an underpaid librarian and my father a dyslexic shipyard worker,” writes Abrams, whose earliest memory of the voting process involved accompanying her parents to the polls. Her more recent memories are more bitter: In 2018, she lost the Georgia gubernatorial race to Brian Kemp in what she believes was an unfairly conducted election. “For a New American Majority—that coalition of people of color, young people, and moderate to progressive whites—to be successful, we have to stop letting them tell us who we are and how to succeed,” she writes. In succinct but thorough chapters, she lays out the grim history of voting rights, both in policy and practice, from the crafting of the Constitution to the present day. The devious creativity of the techniques used to suppress votes is jaw-dropping, and Abrams provides detailed examples from around the country. Among them are obstacles to registration, voter ID “exact match” policies and other restrictions, unexpected poll closings, restriction of early and absentee voting, ballot rejection, miscounting, manipulation of provisional ballots, gerrymandering, and a broken infrastructure, including malfunctioning machines and interminable lines. The author’s plan to solve the problem “short-circuits” debate about identity politics, and she clearly explains how to enact change at the federal level. The census, for example, can be “an organizing tool we can use to salvage democracy.” Abrams informs readers how “democracies rarely fail today because of military coups or foreign invasion. Instead their death is gradual, coming slowly and over time with an erosion of rights and an accumulation of attacks on the institutions that form their backbone.” An afterword on COVID-19 emphasizes the urgency of the 2020 election.
If you are feeling hopeless about politics, this well-informed blueprint for change may begin to restore your faith.