Brian Kemp is using his current job to repress Black votes in fight against Abrams for GA governor
As the November midterm election nears, Georgia’s current Secretary of State and the GOP gubernatorial candidate, Brian Kemp, is holding around 53,000 voter registration applications for additional screening. Most of them are from Black voters.
Kemp’s office is being accused of voter suppression as the GOP candidate for governor is holding thousands of applications through his office’s “exact match” process. This process requires that all information on a voter application must match data under the Social Security System or Department of Driver Services. Applications can be withheld by the smallest of a mismatch, such as a missing hyphen or letter.
Once the application is screened, the office grants the voter additional time to correct the mismatches. However, at least 53,000 Georgians have not been cleared before the October 9th voter registration deadline. According to the Associated Press, 70 percent of the withheld applications are Black voters.
The racial disparity is also alarming due to the fact Kemp is running against Georgia’s first potential Black woman governor, Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams. Since Black voters play a significant role in voting outcomes in the state, voter repression can swing the outcome.
Voting advocacy groups are also concerned with Kemp’s refusal to leave his role in managing voter systems as he is running for governor.
Vox reports that Kemp has had a long history of targeting Black voters. In 2010, his office claimed a group of Black activists were committing voter fraud by filling out other residents’ ballots in their “get-out-the-vote” campaign. When Abrams founded the New Georgia Project to increase and encourage Black voters, Kemp began a controversial investigation into the organization that “revealed significant illegal activities.”
As voting day nears, states with large marginalized communities with significant voting powers are being repressed to hinder their collective progress. Earlier this year, North Dakota repressed Native voters rights by striking down ID protections which would potentially affect the November midterm elections. The Supreme Court recently refused to take up the case.