Kemp, who’s also the Republican candidate for governor, is in charge of elections and voter registration in Georgia. Stacey Abrams, the African-American Democrat running to be Georgia’s next governor, said Sunday that the state’s “exact match” registration verification process – one that is overseen by her Republican opponent – is suppressing the vote.
“We have known since 2016 that the exact-match system has a disproportionate effect on people of color and on women,” Abrams said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Under the system, 53,000 voter registrations have been put on hold because the voter applications did not precisely match information on file with the Georgia Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration. An Associated Press review of the registrations on hold at Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office found nearly 70 percent of the applicants are black. Kemp is Abrams’ Republican opponent in the gubernatorial race. On “Meet The Press” Sunday, Abrams said she believed this was an intentional move on Kemp’s part.
“It’s part of a pattern of behavior where (Kemp) tries to tilt the playing field in his favor or in the favor of his party,”
For his part, Kemp has denied such charges. “Kemp is fighting to protect the integrity of our elections and ensure that only legal citizens cast a ballot,” campaign spokesman Ryan Mahoney recently told the AP. One reason many of the on-hold registrations are from minorities is that they came from a registration project targeting minorities, the Georgia secretary of state’s office has said. The New Georgia project was founded by Abrams. Voters will be allowed to cast ballots if they show photo ID that substantially matches the registration application. Abrams charged that voters will have to go through unnecessary hurdles on election day to prove they can vote, and poll workers will be using a subjective standard to verify their eligibility. The system, she said, is “designed to scare people out of voting” and make it harder to vote for those who are “willing to push through.”
“He’s eroding the public trust in the system because 53,000 people have been told, ‘You may be able to vote, you may not,'”
Still, on “Meet The Press,” Abrams – who could become the first African-American female governor in U.S. history if she defeats Kemp – said she believed the November election would be fair. My organization, working with the Democratic Party, we’ve put together the largest voter protection effort in the state’s history,” she said. “And we have national organizations that are also paying attention. And I think we can make this work.