by Molly Prince
Georgia’s Democratic candidate for governor, Stacey Abrams, is calling for her GOP challenger to resign after a report emerged on Tuesday that his office was sitting on more than 53,000 voter applications, however, Abrams fails to provide color on why the applications were not fully processed.
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is running for governor on the Republican ticket, is being accused of blocking primarily black constituents from registering to vote. Yet, the aforementioned applications are currently in a “pending” status, not “purged” or “blocked” as reported, according to the Georgia GOP.
Pending applications were flagged due to missing information on registration forms, which typically is caused by failing to include registrants’ driver’s license number.
“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,” Abigail Collazo, a spokeswoman for Abrams, said in a statement.
While Abrams‘ campaign is accusing Kemp of suppressing minority voters, all Georgia residents with pending applications are still able to vote during the midterm elections in November — if the issue is not resolved prior to Election Day, pending applicants can present identification at the polls to receive a regular ballot, otherwise, they can still vote using a provisional ballot.
Interestingly, the Democratic hopeful’s own voting initiative is responsible for a large portion of the flagged applications, according to GOP state Rep. Bert Reeves of Georgia. The New Georgia Project, which was founded by Abrams to register “all eligible, unregistered citizens of color in Georgia” to vote, canvasses with paper forms rather than via Online Voter Registration (OVR).
Since the OVR system prohibits a “pending” status, if the New Georgia Project registered voters online, 40 percent of the 53,000 would not currently be pending, according to the Georgia GOP.
“Stacey Abrams has been fighting Brian Kemp’s discriminatory exact-match registration system for years,” Collazo told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Under her leadership, the New Georgia Project worked with several civil rights organizations including the National Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, to successfully fight Brian Kemp in court over the practice.”
“Kemp was forced to restore over 30,000 wrongfully canceled voters to the rolls. Unfortunately, now that Brian Kemp is finding himself in a tight race for governor against Stacey Abrams, he is trying to deflect responsibility and deny accountability for the continued use of the exact match program, which is well-known to disproportionately impact minority voters,” Collazo continued to TheDCNF. “It is clearer than ever that Brian Kemp cannot be trusted to oversee this election.”
This is not the first time that Abrams has falsely accused Kemp of suppressing black constituents’ votes. In August, Abrams berated Kemp’s “suppression tactics” over a proposal to shut down three-quarters of the voting precincts in a predominately black county, leading to possible voter disenfranchisement, despite the decision to do so resting in Democrats’ own hands.
Abrams, who would be the nation’s first black and female governor if elected, emphasized the importance of voting her into office so not to “cede our right to vote.”
Abrams did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundations’ request for a comment.
Kemp and Abrams are in a statistical dead heat, according to the RealClearPolitics average. Kemp is ahead by 2 percent, within the margin of error.
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Molly Prince is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation. Follow Molly @mollyfprince.