Voting rights advocates eye Georgia, where close governor’s race could turn on who gets to vote
For years, voting rights advocates have been fighting new state laws and rules that make it harder for some people to register to vote or to cast a ballot. This year, their fight is focused on Georgia and its race for governor.
While Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate, formerly led a project that registered new voters in Georgia, Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate and current secretary of state, led a state drive to remove hundreds of thousands of infrequent voters from the rolls. His office also put a temporary hold on the registrations of about 50,000 new voters and required voters to display a government-issued photo identification to cast a ballot.
To the surprise of many, Kemp has refused to step aside as the state’s top official supervising elections while he runs for governor against Abrams, vying to be the nation’s first female African American governor.
Public advocacy groups like the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Common Cause, the Campaign Legal Center and the American Civil Liberties Union have all been at work in Georgia in the courts and at polling places.
“This is a major victory for Georgia voters and instills hope that our democracy will function as it should in Georgia on election day,” said Danielle Lang, a lawyer for the Campaign Legal Center. Before the ruling, Kemp called the legal action “another frivolous lawsuit from liberal activist groups.” He said that since 2014, 5.6 million voter registration forms had been processed by the state, and less than 1% had been flagged for possible errors. More broadly, in rebuttal to the contention that voting has been suppressed, he said Georgia’s roll of active voters had increased by 1.4 million since 2010.
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