With the midterms under a week to conclusion, concerns about voter suppression remain in full swing across the United States. Georgia has proven a particular flashpoint, where Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp is running for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams. A federal judge has now yet again ruled against Kemp and in favor of Georgia voters, further solidifying that he won’t be able to hide behind voter suppression and escape the actual opinions of his state’s people.
He’s launched a multi-pronged suppression campaign that’s included the delay of tens of thousands of pending voter registrations, the removal of tens of thousands of names from the state’s voter rolls, and a continued attempt to be free to reject absentee ballots at will.
They’ve got little to no system in place for judging whether the signature on said ballots is close enough to that accompanying the voter’s registration, but they wanted the freedom to throw out ballots over signature concerns anyway.
Judge Leigh Martin May has now again ruled against Kemp on this front, insisting they can’t just throw out ballots — which you’d think would be a given anyway. He’d wanted to delay the implementation of a previous injunction of hers forcing them to respect the absentee ballot voting process, but she said no.
‘Secretary Kemp has already issued guidance in accordance with the injunction to county elections officials… The Court finds that the public interest is best served by allowing qualified absentee voters to vote and have their votes counted.’
The original injunction had demanded that such guidance be issued, dictating that instead of throwing out questionable ballots, local election authorities mark them as provisional and notify the voter of their concern.
Again, you’d think that such a practice would be essentially a given, but not for Republican Brian Kemp. He blasted full speed ahead with the voter suppression that other Republicans have sought to inflict elsewhere through means like voter ID laws that shut out some poor people and minorities.
He’s made his intentions clear, too. He was caught on tape bemoaning the get out the vote effort that Stacey Abrams has undertaken, seemingly wishing that potentially Democratic voters would just stay home. In other words, he might not be too sure that he’s got enough campaign strength to build his own base, so he wants to attempt to erase someone else’s.
FiveThirtyEight’s election analysis certainly reveals that he’s got cause for concern. They rate the Georgia governor’s race a toss-up, putting Kemp only barely ahead of Abrams with a 4 in 7 chance at victory.
He’s hardly the only Republican gubernatorial candidate struggling. In neighboring Florida, FiveThirtyEight pins the state’s governor’s race winner as “likely” Democrat Andrew Gillum. That would leave Trump-backed Republican Ron DeSantis out of the job.
In Congress, Democrats are expected to continue that streak and become the majority party in the U.S. House, but they’re not expected to do the same in the Senate. Still, every newly elected Democrat can pose a significant roadblock to President Trump’s agenda.
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