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VOTER SUPPRESSION RED ALERT: 53,000 Georgia voters—80% people of color—

Kemp is running against Stacey Abrams for governor, and the polls say they are locked in a statistical dead heat.2 So now Kemp is flat-out trying to get an edge in the election, using voter suppression tactics.
VOTER SUPPRESSION RED ALERT: 53,000 Georgia voters—80% people of color—have just had their voter registrations blocked by Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

Civil rights groups have filed a lawsuit to restore these voters' eligibility, but we can't count on the courts to fix this before the November election.3 So Stacey's campaign is scrambling to expand their voter turnout efforts to make sure the election can't be stolen from her.


Stacey is running one of the most exciting campaigns in the country.

She'd be the first elected Black woman governor in U.S. history. She's running as an unapologetic progressive, and she's inspiring tens of thousands of people to vote for the first time.

But the fundamental integrity of the election is being thrown into question, because Kemp refuses to step down or recuse himself from his role as secretary of state running the election in which he's a candidate.

Kemp has closed polling places in heavily Democratic areas.4 He purged nearly 600,000 voter registrations in 2017 alone—that's 1 in 10 Georgia voters. In some cases, people were kicked off the rolls simply because they failed to vote in a single election. Many weren't even notified and won't find out until they show up to vote on Election Day.5

Now Kemp is going even further, with a blatantly unconstitutional program called "exact match," in which 53,000 voter registrations have been put on hold because the information on their voter registration card doesn't exactly match what's on file for driver's licenses or other state records. If there's any discrepancy—such as a dropped hyphen or middle initial in your name—you're out.6


Stacey is running one of the most exciting campaigns in the country.

She'd be the first elected Black woman governor in U.S. history. She's running as an unapologetic progressive, and she's inspiring tens of thousands of people to vote for the first time.

But the fundamental integrity of the election is being thrown into question, because Kemp refuses to step down or recuse himself from his role as secretary of state running the election in which he's a candidate.

Kemp has closed polling places in heavily Democratic areas.4 He purged nearly 600,000 voter registrations in 2017 alone—that's 1 in 10 Georgia voters. In some cases, people were kicked off the rolls simply because they failed to vote in a single election. Many weren't even notified and won't find out until they show up to vote on Election Day.5

Now Kemp is going even further, with a blatantly unconstitutional program called "exact match," in which 53,000 voter registrations have been put on hold because the information on their voter registration card doesn't exactly match what's on file for driver's licenses or other state records. If there's any discrepancy—such as a dropped hyphen or middle initial in your name—you're out.6

Rachel Maddow is calling this a "flashing red light" voter suppression emergency.7 Will you rush an emergency donation of $3 to Stacey's campaign to help fight back?

Yes, I'll donate to Stacey Abrams' campaign!

Before the right-wing takeover of the Supreme Court, we might have had some confidence that the courts might step in and prevent voter suppression like this. But now there's a very real chance Brett Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court will let Kemp get away with it.

Stacey has a long history of fighting for voting rights, including starting an organization that's been registering Georgians for years. And her campaign has a three-step plan to fight back and win, regardless of what the courts say:

She's encouraging people to vote early by mail or in person. Early voting makes sure that long lines or a last-minute emergency won't keep voters from the polls.
Stacey and the Georgia Democrats have set up a Voter Protection Hotline to help voters who have lost their registration know their rights, which include provisional voting. The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day.
She's calling on Kemp to step aside as secretary of state to allow a nonpartisan neutral party to take over.
Stacey is campaigning her guts out in every corner of the state, while Republicans are ruthlessly trying to steal the election from her any way they can. We need to have Stacey's back. Will you chip in $3 to her campaign to help out?

Yes, I'll chip in to Stacey Abrams' campaign.

Thanks for all you do.

-Senator Kamala Harris

Sources:

1. "Kemp Sued Over Georgia's 'Exact Match' Voter Registration Scheme," Talking Points Memo, October 11, 2018
 https://act.moveon.org/go/52973?t=17&akid=218410%2E2823323%2EAPdzi-

2. "Poll: Republican Kemp and Democrat Abrams statistically tied in Georgia governor race," The Hill, October 12, 2018
 https://act.moveon.org/go/52974?t=19&akid=218410%2E2823323%2EAPdzi-

3. "Civil rights groups sue Georgia Republican Brian Kemp over 53,000 'pending' voter registrations," CNN, October 12, 2018
 https://act.moveon.org/go/53001?t=21&akid=218410%2E2823323%2EAPdzi-

4. "Polling Places in Black Communities Continue to Close Ahead of November Elections," Governing, September 5, 2018
 http://act.moveon.org/go/52975?t=23&akid=218410%2E2823323%2EAPdzi-

5. "Georgia Republican Brian Kemp reportedly helped purge '1 in 10' of the state's voters from the rolls," Mic, October 9, 2018
 https://act.moveon.org/go/52976?t=25&akid=218410%2E2823323%2EAPdzi-

6. "Kemp Sued Over Georgia's 'Exact Match' Voter Registration Scheme," Talking Points Memo, October 11, 2018
 https://act.moveon.org/go/52973?t=27&akid=218410%2E2823323%2EAPdzi-

7. "Kemp holding up 53K voter registrations as he runs for governor," MSNBC, October 10, 2018
 https://act.moveon.org/go/52978?t=29&akid=218410%2E2823323%2EAPdzi-

Rampant, Racist Voter Suppression in Georgia Goes to Federal Court 28.Oct.2018 15:16

by William Boardman

October 24th, 2018

... almost a quarter of a million previously registered voters who may want to vote in this election who will find their registrations cancelled based on an assumption that they had moved when they had not.

This is a travesty for the people of Georgia whose fundamental right to vote has been taken without any formal notice that their registrations have been cancelled.

— Federal Court complaint against Georgia secretary of state Brian Kemp

If Brian Kemp wins the 2018 election for governor of Georgia, it will be one more triumph for the massive corruption Republicans have brought to American voting for the past 20 years or more. Brian Kemp is currently Georgia's secretary of state. Part of the secretary's job, as chair of the State Elections Board, is to make decisions that determine who can vote, where they can vote, when they can vote, and whether their votes will be counted accurately - in other words, the whole voting process.

As a secretary of state running for governor, Kemp has a clear conflict of interest, since any of his decisions about voting rights could help his campaign. Many of them already have. Previous secretaries of state who ran for governor have taken themselves out of the voting rights conflict. Kemp has refused to do so. His corruption is so blatantly transparent, his spokesman dishonestly proclaims that "Kemp is fighting to protect the integrity of our elections and ensure that only legal citizens cast a ballot."

The claim of illegal voting by non-citizens has been a Republican Big Lie for a long time now. It works, it scares people who don't know any better, but it's not true and has never been true. In 2016, the Brennan Center for Justice analyzed 23.5 million votes for taint. Out of 23 million votes, only a handful of ballots were flagged for investigation or prosecution. OK, it was a big handful - out of 23,500,000 ballots they found 30 - thirty! - that were suspect. Presumably their intimidation tactics work or Republicans wouldn't work so hard to suppress the vote, even with recent (October 20), baseless presidential tweets.

Middle-aged white male Brian Kemp's opponent for governor is a progressive Democrat, Stacey Abrams, a middle-aged black woman and Yale Law School graduate who would be the first-ever African-American governor of Georgia. She founded the New Georgia Project, registering some 200,000 voters of color since 2014. Kemp has been disqualifying voters of color even faster. With Kemp recently holding a two-point lead (48-46), their race is considered a toss-up.

The lawsuit cited above grew out of a records request to the secretary of state on March 2, 2018. The request was made under both the Georgia Open Records Act and the 1993 federal National Voter Registration Act (52 U.S.C. 20501 et seq.), the primary purpose of which is "to establish procedures that will increase the number of eligible citizens who register to vote in elections for Federal office." [emphasis added] Republicans like Kemp have spent a quarter century in more or less open defiance of this federal law, based on Congressional findings that would be unimaginable today:

(1) the right of citizens of the United States to vote is a fundamental right;

(2) it is the duty of the Federal, State, and local governments to promote the exercise of that right; and

(3) discriminatory and unfair registration laws and procedures can have a direct and damaging effect on voter participation in elections for Federal office and disproportionately harm voter participation by various groups, including racial minorities.

The plaintiffs in the federal case against Kemp are reporter Greg Palast of Los Angeles and civil rights activist Helen Butler of Atlanta. Palast has built an international reputation with his investigative reporting, especially his reporting on voting rights issues that others in the media (and the Democratic Party) tend to ignore. Butler is the executive director of the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples' Agenda, which has organized state coalitions in more than half a dozen other southern states.

The initial request for legally public records included a request for information about how Georgia uses the Interstate Voter Crosscheck System in managing Georgia's voter rolls. Crosscheck, which has a built-in racial bias against non-white voters, has been used since 2005, especially by Republican secretaries of state seeking to purge voters' rolls into a more Republican-friendly form (led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach). Crosscheck purports to identify "duplicate" voters in different states using only two data points: name and birth date (different middle names, for example, are considered irrelevant). In 2017, Crosscheck claimed to find 7.2 million duplicate voter registrations out of 98 million analyzed in 28 states. Despite Crosscheck's claim of the potential for over seven million voters to vote twice, only 4 - four! - double-voters were identified. Crosscheck is now dormant. The damage is lasting.

Kemp's office did not respond to the request forthrightly. Instead, Kemp's office demanded exorbitant payment in advance before providing redacted records. Other states acted similarly to stonewall legal "open records" requests.

On June 12, 2018, plaintiffs Palast and Butler filed a new request using only the National Voter Rights Act. The request allowed Kemp 90 days to reply. Kemp did not reply promptly to detailed questions about Crosscheck's lists provided to Georgia in 2016 and 2017, as well as the "list of names and addresses of all those purged or changed to inactive in 2016 and 2017 and the basis for each individual being removed from the voter rolls... ."

Kemp's office did not respond in June. Kemp's office did not respond in July. On August 14, plaintiffs sent Kemp a letter reminding him that his 90-day deadline for lawful compliance would expire on September 10. On September 4, Kemp provided a partial response, omitting any information about Crosscheck. In their October filing to compel a complete response to their questions, they wrote:

Plaintiffs were shocked when they saw that over a half a million Georgians had their registrations automatically cancelled through the inactivity process utilized by the Georgia Secretary of State.

Claiming that Georgians had not voted during a three-year period, Kemp's office in 2017 cancelled the voter registrations of 534,517 Georgians for that reason alone. That is roughly one in 12 Georgians disenfranchised for not voting. That reason is illegal. That reason violates federal law - the National Voting Rights Act - which requires that state voting procedures "shall not result in the removal of the name of any person from the official list of voters registered to vote" solely because the person did not vote. Further reasons for removal include moving out of state, being convicted of a felony, or death.

Further analysis of the data showed that of the half-million-plus voters whose registrations were cancelled because they had supposedly moved, at least 340,134 of them - 61% of the total - still lived at the same address. These 340,134 persons did not know their registrations had been cancelled by the state. Palast posted all their names on his website in hopes that some might re-register before the October 9 deadline.

The cancellation of 340,134 registrations of people who have not moved is another violation of the National Voting Rights Act, which requires the state to keep voter rolls that are accurate and current.

This case is now before federal district judge Eleanor Louise Ross, an Obama appointee confirmed in 2014. In an interview with the Atlanta Tribune, Judge Ross said:

I believe this century has seen enormous strides by women and minorities in general. My having made history as the first African-American female on the U.S. Federal District Court in Atlanta, and one of the first two in the entire state, just continues to blow my mind. There are so many well-rounded, qualified candidates whom are ready to also jump in, if provided with the right opportunity. I think it is crucial that those of us already appointed and elected continue to work together to keep making history until it is not history anymore. It just is!

From that, one might infer that the judge is ready to rule for plaintiffs and deal a blow to Georgia's corrupt voter management system. Restoring the voting rights of 340,134 purged voters would surely be the right thing to do. But even the plaintiffs have not asked for that kind of legal relief. The plaintiffs have asked only that Kemp be found in violation of the National Voter Rights Act and be compelled to provide all the information plaintiffs have requested.

That outcome would award corruption. That outcome would reward a state official for defying the law until the last possible minute. That outcome would leave purged voters with little useful recourse. That outcome might enable a corrupt secretary of state to become a corrupt governor. That outcome would allow Republicans to crow over protecting the integrity of the vote, when the truth is that they just went on corrupting it.