Brian Kemp Accused Of Suppressing Voter Rights With “Exact Match” Law
Is Republican candidate for governor Brian Kemp using the power of his current office to suppress votes from people of color? It sure looks that way.
Currently Georgia’s secretary of state, Kemp is responsible for oversight of elections and voter registration. As he runs against Democrat Stacey Abrams for the office of governor, Kemp claims it’s never been easier to register to vote—but that’s not at all factual. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, more than 53,000 voter applications are currently on hold due to an “exact match” law, “which requires voter registration information to match a driver’s license, state ID card or Social Security records.”
“Voter registration applications can be put on hold because of a missing hyphen in a last name or data entry errors. Mismatched voter registrations remain pending unless applicants correct discrepancies within 26 months. Voters whose registrations are placed on hold can still participate in elections if they verify their information.”
What’s more is the fact that it’s mostly African American applicants who are having an issue registering:
“An analysis of the list of 53,000 pending voter registrations by the AP indicates racial disparities. The list is 70 percent African-American in a state that’s 32 percent black, the AP reported. Part of the reason many of the pending applications are from African-Americans is that they were submitted by the New Georgia Project, an organization founded by Abrams that sought to register nonwhites, unmarried women and millennials, Broce said. About 40 percent of voters on the pending list came from paper forms submitted by the New Georgia Project in 2014.”
Kemp’s opponent in the race for governor is of the opinion that he is attacking voting rights, as her spokeswoman said in a statement about the “exact match” law:
“As he has done for years, Brian Kemp is maliciously wielding the power of his office to suppress the vote for political gain and silence the voices of thousands of eligible voters — the majority of them people of color,” said Abrams spokeswoman Abigail Collazo. “This isn’t incompetence; it’s malpractice.”
Of course, Kemp’s team is acting like making it super difficult to register is not that big of a deal.
Voters can verify their registrations by showing a Georgia driver’s license or a state-issued photo ID when they go to vote, said Candice Broce, a spokeswoman for Kemp. They can also mail identification information in advance. If the ID resolves the discrepancy, they will immediately become active voters eligible to cast a normal ballot on Georgia’s voting machines.
One college teacher, Marsha Appling-Nunez, who moved from one Atlanta suburb to another says she was “shocked” to learn she was no longer registered. She actually found out while showing her students how to check their registration status online. Appling-Nunez says she tried to re-register, but her application is one of the 53,000 on hold.