By Cheryl Kwapong
Current Georgia Secretary of State Brain Kemp is in a heated race against, Stacey Abrams, the first black woman to win a major party’s nomination for governor.
The job, as the secretary of state amongst other things, includes overseeing the voter registration of their state.
“I’d say there’s an obvious conflict of interest. Brian Kemp recently said that he would not recuse himself if it goes to a recount, which is just silly. You wouldn’t let the referee play in the soccer game, so you shouldn’t let the secretary of state count the votes,” Young Democrats Director of Communications Jack Decker said.
The Associated Press reported that Kemp’s office is blocking 53,000 voter registration applications. These applications are all blocked by an “exact match system” that requires information listed on the application to exactly mirror how it appears either in a state driver’s license database or the federal Social Security database. Any discrepancies seen between the two databases would result in a halt on the voter process. This includes but is not limited to a typo or missing letter or misplaced hyphenations.
“He doesn’t even have to resign, he should just step down, especially given what’s happened recently. Those people are still allowed to vote, but it’s a supressionary tactic that tries to scare people away from voting. Voter suppression is not always about making it impossible for people to vote, but it’s also about making people uncomfortable voting,” Decker said.
Interestingly enough, the demographic this system affects is extremely skewed and seems to favor one side of the political spectrum. Of those who were “purged” from voter registration lists, according to the associciated press, nearly 70% of the blocked applications belong to African Americans, who only make up around 32% of the state’s population.
Since 2012, Kemp’s office has cancelled over 1.4 million voter registrations. Nearly 670,000 registrations were cancelled in 2017 alone — the same year Kemp announced his candidacy. Abrams believes this is a blatant attack on voters’ rights and views Kemps actions as, “a witch hunt that was created by someone who is abusing his power.”
Kemp retorted with his own investigation announcing on Sunday that his team was looking into the Georgia Democratic Party in connection with what it described as “an attempted hack of the state’s voter registration system.”
According to the AJC, The Justice Dept. is sending observers to 19 states to monitor midterm voting, including possible barriers to voting rights based on race. One area being targeted is my hometown of Gwinnett County, GA, a majority non-white county. Civil rights groups say 1 in 10 absentee ballots were rejected.
Before you and your friends hit the polls, here is what you should know:
To vote in Georgia, you MUST bring a valid federal issued ID.
This includes but is not limited to:
- State or federal ID card (incl. Georgia college student ID),
- Valid employee ID from govt. agency
- U.S. passport U.S. military ID Tribal photo ID.
If you are denied at the polls, you may request a provisional ballot.
If you or anyone you know needs a ride to the polls, please call 888-730-5816.
To find the nearest polling station near you, simply Google it!
Polls are open from 7am-7pm.