The Georgia Voter Suppression Story Is Not Going Away
The Georgia gubernatorial race is practically dead-even with 25 days to go before the 2018 midterm elections. Democrat Stacey Abrams is the former minority leader of the state’s house of representatives, as well as the first African American woman to be nominated for governor by a major political party. Republican Brian Kemp is a devout Trump acolyte and the state’s current secretary of state. It’s in this role that Kemp oversees Georgia’s elections, and, on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that over 53,000 voter applications have been put on hold under the controversial “exact match” verification policy. Over two-thirds of those affected are African American.
The “exact match” policy holds that a resident’s voter application must replicate the information on file with the Social Security Administration and the state’s Department of Driver Services. If an application contains so much as a misplaced dot or dash, it is flagged and put on hold. The AP story breaking the news of the purge highlights an educator whose application was suspended without her knowledge, and there are likely tens of thousands of additional Georgia residents who are not aware that they are no longer registered.
“Nearly every other state treats failure to match a database differently than Georgia,” the Campaign Legal Center, one of the groups filing the lawsuit against Kemp, wrote in a statement. “In the case of a mismatch, the voter is still fully registered. First-time voters are required to show a form of identification at the polls when they vote for the first time. This process provides the same amount of election security and imposes less barriers to voters.”
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