SPECIAL REPORT: Georgia voter registrations in limbo

Special Reports

With election day fast approaching, there are several lawsuits regarding alleged voter suppression in Georgia.

One of those suits claims voter registrations are stuck because of a  policy from the Secretary of State’s office.

53,000 voter registrations allegedly in limbo. 70 percent of those belonging to black voters and 80 percent to minorities in general, numbers way out of whack with the demographics of Georgia. Leading to a hot topic question for Abrams and Kemp, making their rounds on the national news…

“Do you believe this is intentional by your opponent?”  

“Absolutely,” said Abrams on Meet the Press.

“What do you say to that?”

“Oh that’s just a smoke screen, trying to hide her radical views…just go to the poll and show ID,” said Kemp on Fox & Friends.

But none of those interviews clarify which is actually correct, or what it means for you.  So let’s do it.

First, going to the campaigns and parties. Their sentiments, not surprisingly, echoing those of their candidates.

Kemp’s campaign calling it a “manufactured crisis.”  His office explaining “this so called exact match law was passed by the legislature.”

True fact — passing in a Republican majority, largely along party lines with House Bill 268.  It’s not only legal, it’s law.  But the organization filing the suit says Kemp lobbied for the bill with his party, after losing over the same issue before.

“If one person in Georgia knows exact match has a discriminatory effect, it’s Brian Kemp because we sued him in 2016 and we won,” says Kristen Clarke.

The Secretary’s office saying they settled to avoid wasting more time and taxpayer dollars.

Legal or not, the Abrams campaign says it’s wrong, stating that Kemp is wielding the power of his office to suppress voters and telling CNN, “It’s a pattern of behavior.”

So, to you as a voter what does this mean? If you’re a man and have a traditional western name, probably nothing.

“Names like Joe Smith are easy to spell, others are more challenging,” says State Rep. Scott Holcomb.

But if you’re married, is Ashley Bridges Smith the same as Ashley B Smith?  Or, if you have a non anglophone name with hyphens and apostrophes — are any of these the same?  So now maybe it makes a little more sense how this disproportionately affects minorities and women.

So who makes the call? As pointed out by Kemp’s office, at that point, it is largely a county issue on the ground. And back to Abram’s subjectivity point, there are 159 of those and thousands of poll workers. 

“Show your ID and call one of the election protection nonpartisan groups for help,” says Holcomb.

Now, to give credit where credit is due, so you don’t end up with a last minute emergency. Just check your voter status online at the secretary of state’s MVP websiteAnd that’s a resource that didn’t exist for voters before Secretary Kemp.  

Coming up this week I’ll dig into that claim and look at what the suit actually legally says, and who’s telling the truth about it. 

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