How Republicans Are Trying to Steal the Georgia Governor’s Race


Georgia's efforts to elect the first black woman governor in American history this November—the Democrat, Stacey Abrams, is in a statistical tie with her Republican opponent—recently ran into a roadblock of the "insidious voter suppression" variety: The Republican secretary of state froze some 53,000 voter-registration applications flagged by the state's "exact match" law, which requires that Georgians submit information identical to that on file with the Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration.

This policy extends to dropped hyphens, misplaced accents, and transcriptions errors, which means that the difference between, say, "Beyonce" and "Beyoncé" would be enough to land you on the hold list.

The good news is that those who vote in person on Election Day can clear the hold by showing their required voter ID. The bad news is that those who vote by mail won't have the opportunity to do so, and thus risk having their ballots rejected—an issue of particular concern, according to Danielle Lang, senior counsel at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, because vote-by-mail requests have increased this cycle, especially among black voters.

Anyone erroneously flagged as a non-citizen will probably have to cast a provisional ballot, since no one brings their naturalization certificate to the polls. And because of that 26-month timeline, anyone who doesn't vote in 2018 will likely be purged from the rolls by 2020, which means there will no longer be any hold to clear when they show up to vote.

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