Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is blocking 53,000 people from registering to vote, which could sway his gubernatorial race against Democrat Stacey Abrams, according to records obtained by the Associated Press. Most of the applicants being blocked are black — 70 percent.
The state of Georgia has repeatedly been called out for voter suppression tactics, going back to former secretary of state Karen Handel, who is now lawmaker in Congress. She has a long history of voter suppression that included a lawsuit, which she lost. She purged voter rolls, blocked Democrats from running and pushed for strict voter ID laws.
Kemp is hiding behind an “exact match” program that disproportionately affects black and brown voters. The system checks new registration information against DMV and Social Security records to make sure that the information perfectly matches what is in the state’s voter registration system. Applications can get blocked for something as simple as a hyphen in a voter’s name. Applicants have 30 days to fix their application even though they’re not told why it was flagged in the first place. If there is no response, they get purged out of the system.
Brian Kemp has clashed with voting rights activists before because of his shady behavior. Now he’s running for governor and still overseeing the election and voter registration. Any other decent person would have recused so as not to compromise the integrity of the process.
In other words, if Brian Kemp can’t win legally, he has no qualms about cheating. Don’t get me wrong, this is a red state, but we’ve had Democratic governors before — Jimmy Carter and Roy Barnes. So, it’s not impossible for Stacey Abrams to eke out a win, which Republicans want to derail at all costs.