Former President Jimmy Carter is wading into the final days of a Georgia governor’s race rife with charges and countercharges of attempted voter fraud and attempted voter suppression.
Carter has written to Republican nominee Brian Kemp, asking him to resign his post as Georgia secretary of state. The 94-year-old Carter said staying on as chief elections officer could damage public confidence in the electoral process.
Kemp is locked in a tight race with Democrat Stacey Abrams.
Carter has endorsed Abrams, but he did not mention her in the Oct. 22 letter obtained by The Associated Press.
Carter instead cited his vast experience monitoring elections around the world and noted federal court criticisms of Georgia’s elections process.
Kemp previously has dismissed calls to step aside.
Read the full letter below:
October 22, 2018
To Secretary of State Brian Kemp:
I have officially observed scores of doubtful elections in many countries, and one of the key requirements for a fair and trusted process is that there be nonbiased supervision of the electoral process.
In Georgia’s upcoming gubernatorial election, popular confidence is threatened not only by the undeniable racial discrimination of the past and the serious questions that the federal courts have raised about the security of Georgia’s voting machines, but also because you are now overseeing the election in which you are a candidate. This runs counter to the most fundamental principle of democratic elections — that the electoral process be managed by an independent and impartial election authority. Other secretaries of state have stepped down while running for election within their jurisdiction, to ensure that officials without a direct stake in the process can take charge and eliminate concerns about a conflict of interest.
In order to foster voter confidence in the upcoming election, which will be especially important if the race ends up very close, I urge you to step aside and hand over to a neutral authority the responsibility of overseeing the governor’s election. This would not address every concern, but it would be a sign that you recognize the importance of this key democratic principle and want to ensure the confidence of our citizens in the outcome.