October 15, 2018

Voter Registration Controversy in Georgia

U.S. voting rights advocacy groups on Thursday sued Georgia’s top election official, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, accusing him of putting more than 50,000 voter registration applications on hold to boost his gubernatorial campaign... It was the latest legal development this week involving voting rights that could influence the Nov. 6 elections in states, including North Dakota, Arkansas and Ohio.”


Georgia’s ‘exact match’ law, passed last year, requires registration application information to match driver’s license, state ID card or Social Security records. Registrations can be stalled for several reasons, including a missing hyphen in a last name, a discrepancy between a maiden name and a married name, or a misspelling in government records...

“[The affected voters] can cast a ballot if they show a government photo ID that substantially matches the registration application... [But] the need to verify voting information creates another step in the process to becoming registered voters.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

See past issues

From the Left

The left argues this is just the latest attempt by Kemp to suppress voter turnout, and furthermore that the GOP’s concerns about voter fraud are disingenuous at best.

“Many feel the ‘exact match’ policy has no practical purpose other than complicating the process for minorities. ‘Nearly every other state treats failure to match a database differently than Georgia,’ the Campaign Legal Center, one of the groups filing the lawsuit against Kemp, wrote in a statement."

Rolling Stone

“During [Kemp’s] tenure as secretary of state, his office has canceled more than 1.4 million voter registrations. In August, Kemp was pressured to back down from a proposal by a political ally to eliminate three-fourths of voting locations in a rural county made up of predominantly black voters, but he has still been able to close polling locations in a number of majority-black areas...

"Kemp, in other words, has had an intimate role in shaping the Georgia electorate, and with this attempt to stall tens of thousands of registrations, he has a significant opportunity to benefit from this work by claiming victory in an election he has attempted to rig in his own favor.”


Many note that “voter fraud is extremely rare in the US... A 2012 investigation... [found] just 10 credible cases [of voter impersonation]. But the other types of fraud weren’t common either: In total, the project uncovered 2,068 alleged election fraud cases from 2000 through part of 2012... That represents about 0.000003 alleged cases of fraud for every vote cast."


Finally, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow points out that “past Georgia Secretaries of State who run for governor have stepped down in order to run, because it’s a bad look to be in charge of the integrity of your own election."


From the Right

The right dismisses the claims, noting that the voters in question can still cast ballots on election day if they provide ID (which is required of all voters), and argues that the problem of voter fraud should be taken seriously.

The right dismisses the claims, noting that the voters in question can still cast ballots on election day if they provide ID (which is required of all voters), and argues that the problem of voter fraud should be taken seriously.

Kemp stated, “The 53,000 Georgians on our ‘pending’ list can vote in the Nov. 6th election. [Abrams’s] dark money voter registration group submitted sloppy forms. Now, they are faking outrage for political gain."


All Georgia residents with pending applications are still able to vote during the midterm elections in November — if the issue is not resolved prior to Election Day, pending applicants can present identification at the polls to receive a regular ballot, otherwise, they can still vote using a provisional ballot...

“The Democratic hopeful’s own voting initiative is responsible for a large portion of the flagged applications... Since the [online registration] system prohibits a ‘pending’ status, if the New Georgia Project registered voters online [rather than with paper forms], 40 percent of the 53,000 would not currently be pending, according to the Georgia GOP.”

Daily Caller

Candice Broce, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state's office, added that “this so-called 'exact match' law was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor [Nathan] Deal... It mirrors a Florida law recently upheld in the 11th Circuit."

NBC News

Dated but relevant: In response to claims that voter fraud is rare, many note that in the 2008 Minnesota Senate race, which former Democratic Senator Al Franken won by 312 votes, “177 people have been convicted -- not just accused, but convicted -- of voting fraudulently,” and a conservative group identified “1,099 felons -- all ineligible to vote -- who had voted.”

Washington Examiner

US embassy apologises after mistakenly sending Cookie Monster cat invitation.

The Guardian

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