State Purges 100,000+ Votes & The Way They Did It Is Crooked As Hell

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Republicans in Georgia are very, very scared. The state is preparing to vote in an historic election in which the very first black female candidate, Stacey Abrams, for governor is on the ballot with paper-thin margins between she and her white, male GOP opponent, Brian Kemp, in polls. The problem with the polls, however, is that many of the respondents may not know they’ve been rendered ineligible to vote at all.

According to APM Reports:

‘A handful of states, most of them led by Republicans, are using someone’s decision not to vote as the trigger for removing them from the rolls. No state has been more aggressive with this approach than Georgia, where Brian Kemp, the secretary of state, oversaw the purging of a growing number of voters ahead of his own run for governor, according to an APM Reports investigation. Voting rights advocates call it a new form of voter suppression, and they fear it will soon spread to other states.’

The news follows a revelation that Kemp, who currently serves as the secretary of state in Georgia in charge of voter registrations and rolls, has a pile of 53,000 voter registration ballots yet to approve just three weeks before the midterm elections. A full 70 percent of those voter registrations are black voters.

Georgia is not the only state pulling these shady moves ahead of the midterms, either, although they are possibly using it in the most widespread way that will effectively impact the vote in their favor.

‘APM Reports found that at least nine states — most of them with Republican leadership, including the key battlegrounds of Georgia and Ohio — have purged an estimated hundreds of thousands of people from the rolls for infrequent voting since the 2014 general election. States with these policies are removing voters at some of the highest rates in the nation, no matter the reason.’

The states of Alaska, Montana, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon and West Virginia are using similar methods. Georgia is adding outright thuggery, though, as stories of elderly black voters being stopped on a bus driving them to the polls and told to get out by police as well as young black college students arrested for such crimes as “carrying a ballot to a mailbox” (which is not illegal) hit the news.

For his part, Kemp says he’s proud of these efforts to suppress black votes, telling reporters that “I’m very proud of my record on making sure we have secure, accessible and fair elections.” Of course, it’s only accessible and fair to white voters, but that’s Kemp’s voting base.

Reporters note that “infrequent voters tend to be younger, poorer and people of color who are more likely to favor Democrats,” just as residents of poor, black communities traditionally are.

Featured image via Flickr by Keith Ivey under a Creative Commons license