There’s a major battle over voting rights going on in Georgia right now, on the eve of a historic gubernatorial election, and there are 53,000 voters on the line. Brian Kemp is both Georgia’s secretary of state and the Republican nominee for governor. He’s using the first office to try to secure the second through the most nefarious means possible: voter suppression.
Kemp is enforcing an overtly biased “exact match” policy. In short, officials place a hold on every voter registration submission that doesn’t perfectly match the person’s other official records down to the letter, digit, apostrophe, or hyphen. It’s then on the voter to remedy the error(s) within 26 months or else start the application process anew. Officials also pause the applications of potential “non-citizens,” identified using faulty and outdated data. Eighty percent of the 53,000 Georgians whose applications have been paused are people of color.
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams has called on Kemp to resign, and rightly so. It beggars the imagination that anyone could miss Kemp’s conflict of interest.
Under state law, voters whose registration is “pending” should still be able to vote on Election Day so long as they produce ID. Question is, will all the poll workers know that? Most reporting has suggested that voters in limbo have to cast provisional ballots. The difference between a regular and a provisional ballot is enormous: Provisional ballots are less likely to be counted.