Leaked audio is showing that Republican Brian Kemp, the Georgia Secretary of State who manages elections and voter registration (and is also running for governor of the state) is actually worried about voters…voting.
In audio obtained by the Rolling Stone, Kemp who is a tight race against Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams said at a ticketed campaign event that Abrams’ push to increase voter turnout “continues to concern us, especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote.”
One would think that the man in charge of elections and making sure people are registered to vote would want more people to vote, but not Brian Kemp, apparently.
The audio was taken by an attendee at the “Georgia Professionals for Kemp” event last Friday, according to the news site.
Shortly after Kemp began his remarks, he reportedly voiced concern about early voting and “the literally tens of millions of dollars that [the Abrams campaign] are putting behind the get-out-the-vote effort to their base.”
Kemp also voiced concern what he believes is Abrams effort to increase absentee ballot requests.
“They have just an unprecedented number of that,” he added, “which is something that continues to concern us, especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote — which they absolutely can — and mail those ballots in, we gotta have heavy turnout to offset that.”
Perhaps if Kemp were a normal candidate the comments would be brushed off, but the fact of the matter is, he is not a normal GOP candidate for governor. Again, as Secretary of State, Kemp’s office runs the electoral process in the state and is in charge of voter registration.
On top of it all, Kemp’s office has recently been accused of voter suppression after it was revealed that the office was sitting on over 53,000 voter registrations that were being stalled (70 percent of the registrations belonged to black voters). This is due to Georgia’s “exact match” registration verification process which requires the name on the voter registration application to be an “exact match” to the information on file with the Georgia Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration. Errors as innocuous as a dropped hyphen in a last name could result in the application being stalled.
But the allegations of voter suppression didn’t stop there. Most recently it was discovered that some 107,000 people were removed from voting rolls in Georgia for failing to vote in previous elections. This is through the state’s “use it or lose it” policy that insists that residents vote, otherwise the perfectly eligible voters will be denied that right.
Kemp’s office initiated the removals eight months after he put in his bid to be the next governor of Georgia.
The Abrams campaign called out Kemp, once again, for his alleged tactics.
“Brian Kemp is barely trying to hide the shameful fact that his strategy is to win through voter suppression. The idea that he, as Secretary of State, would be ‘concerned’ that hardworking Georgians are exercising their right to vote is disgraceful and outrageous,” Abrams’ Director of Strategic Communications Abigail Collazo told Rolling Stone. “Brian Kemp should resign immediately so that Georgians can be sure the election will be administered in an impartial and competent manner.”