The midterms are only getting closer at this point, and the stakes remain as high as ever. In Georgia, the current Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp is trying to keep Democrat Stacey Abrams from becoming the next governor — and continues to face allegations that he’s relying on fraud to get to victory.
The NAACP has filed a complaint with his office over stories of malfunctioning electronic voting machines registering votes meant for Abrams as for Kemp. The mismatch between intent and what was displayed on a screen unfolded at least eight documented times, according to the group — and who knows how many more. If an Abrams supporter didn’t notice their vote tallied incorrectly and attempt to change it, the Republican’s totals could have easily proven artificially inflated.
The mishaps have been reported in four Georgia counties, including Bartow, Dodge, Henry, and Cobb.
The state’s NAACP’s Phyllis Blake bemoaned the situation to USA Today, explaining:
‘We’ve experienced this before. They ended up taking these old dilapidated machines out of service. The ones giving the problems — they should have been replaced about 10 years ago.’
Kemp’s office offered a non-committal response, simply confirming to the publication that “if warranted,” they’d open an investigation.
It’s hardly the first scrutiny that they’ve faced.
Kemp’s office has led a widely publicized “purge” of tens of thousands of voters from the state’s registry. The tactic has been put in place by Republican leaders before; when employed, state authorities search for individuals who for one reason or another, they believe are no longer accurately represented by their voter registration. Not only that, but voters could have their names removed from the registry simply because they didn’t vote in previous elections for long enough to — for Republicans — warrant feigned concern.
Although the precise numbers have been debated, according to NPR, a full 107,000 people were stricken from the state’s voter rolls last summer for that reason alone, and if they didn’t learn of that until, say, now, it’s too late. The voter registration deadline in Georgia was earlier this month.
Kemp has insisted that he’s simply “following the law” in executing the voter purges, but Republicans have routinely sought to leverage voting laws for their advantage. They’ve enacted harsh voter ID laws, for instance, in localities like Wisconsin, demanding identification that the poor and minorities might just not have. In so doing, the wide perception is that they’re aiming to suppress Democratic voter turnout.
Kemp himself has bolstered this perception, caught on tape telling a privately gathered group of donors that Abrams’ get out the vote effort “continues to concern us, especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote.”
Should Abrams win, she would be the first black female governor in the entire United States. She’s not the only potentially history making governor on the ballot, either. In Florida, for instance, should Democrat Andrew Gillum win, he would be the state’s first black governor, period, and represent a monumental shift after eight years of Republican Rick Scott’s “leadership.”
Democrats like Abrams and Gillum continue to run on strong public enthusiasm heading into the soon to be concluded midterms.
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