Georgia’s Tight Governor Race Points Out Kemp’s Voter Suppression

Republican Georgia gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp is demanding that his opponent, Democrat Stacey Abrams, concede in a race where all of the votes have not yet been counted.

Prominent civil rights groups, as well as Democrats all over the country, are urging her to stay in the fight.

Bernie Sanders tweeted his thoughts about the importance of what is going on in Georgia:

“The election in Georgia is not only about who becomes Governor. It is about protecting the basic tenets of American democracy. @staceyabrams has run a brilliant and inspiring campaign, overcoming enormous obstacles. Now, GA officials must count every vote.”

But as Kemp is declaring himself the winner in Georgia’s governor race, many people are pointing out the steps he has taken to suppress votes of people in Georgia who were likely to vote for Abrams. And in a race this close even very small differences in voting and turnout can make a huge difference in deciding who wins. And also in determining whether the race goes to a runoff or not.

Here is what Kemp did as Secretary of State of Georgia, a position he held until Friday:

  1. He aggressively deleted inactive voters from registration rolls,
  2. He enforced an “exact match” policy that could have prevented thousands of Georgians from registering to vote and
  3. He launched an investigation that disrupted a major voter registration drive.

    Since Georgia has been dominated by Republicans for decades, Abrams has based her campaign on getting many new and infrequent voters to the polls.

But Kemp’s voter suppression efforts have greatly frustrated Abrams “get out the vote” efforts. Kemp and the state’s Republican legislature have been putting in place much tighter voting and registration rules. These rules serve to restrict voting from minorities and young people. It makes it much more difficult for those voters to register and cast ballots.

“Georgia uses every tool in the voter-suppression tool kit,” said Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia. “It’s unfriendly the way that voting happens in Georgia. It’s more like cashing a check than casting a ballot.”

Young also said that Georgia’s recent voting restrictions have been imposed by Republicans to fight what they called “voter fraud.” But she says that they were put in to keep minorities from voting.

“It’s hard to see good faith in so many of these measures that advocates repeatedly say have disproportionate impact on African-Americans and other minorities,” Young added.

Stacey Abrams’ fight in Georgia is not just about becoming governor. Her fight is also about fair elections and allowing all people to vote without undue restrictions. She is fighting for democracy, not just for the people of Georgia, but for all Americans.