With bullhorns, handheld signs, and a lot of passion, a group of about 100 activists took to the steps of the State Capitol to push back against alleged voter suppression in Georgia.
The Georgia NAACP is calling for Secretary of State and GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp to resign.
“He cannot be trusted to preside over a race when he is trying to be elected governor,” said Senator Nan Orrock, D-District 36.
The civil rights group is suing Kemp in federal district court.
“We want a fair and free election, free from the cloud of voter suppression,” said attorney Gerald Griggs. “We've sued him four times. This is the fifth time we are going to sue him to do his job,” Griggs added.
The lawsuit centers around the news that more than 53,000 voter registration applications are still pending. More than 70 percent of the applications belong to Black potential voters.
The information on the applications conflict with the exact match law in Georgia, meaning some information on the forms does not match the information listed in Georgia’s online driver’s system. Many errors are technical such as spelling and punctuation discrepancies.
“Our issue is that our voices may not be heard in this election,” said Amari Fennoy, Georgia Youth and College Division of NAACP vice president. “We had a voter rally at Spelman College,” Fennoy told CBS46.
“We actually registered 300 to 400 plus students, and I was one of those students. Some have received some information back but not all of us have. We are kind of concerned of okay where is our information? There is no pending status, nothing. Nothing is out there with my name on it,” Fennoy told CBS46.
“What we see time and time again with these things whether it's voter ID or purging voters who aren't voting regularly or now we've got the perfect match system,” said District 6 State Senator Jennifer Jordan who challenged the voter ID bill in 2005. “It all tends to hit minority voters more than any other types of voters,” said Jordan.
CBS46 reached out to Kemp’s office as well as his campaign.
The campaign spokesperson, Ryan Mahoney said that the 53,000 pending applications were submitted through the "The New Georgia Project," all on paper forms. He said many contained errors that did not match the information listed in the DDS system which is used for voter registration. Kemp's press secretary, Candice Broce said the issues involve voters dating back to 2013.
"This is a publicity stunt that the media falls for year after year. Their claims are bogus. It is a complete waste of our time and taxpayer dollars. This so-called 'exact match' law was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Deal. It mirrors a Florida law recently upheld in the 11th Circuit. The 53,000 Georgians cited in their complaint can vote in the November 6th election. Any claims to the contrary are politically motivated and utterly false,” Broce said in an emailed statement.
They say those people on the pending list can still show up to vote early or on Election Day on regular ballots like everyone else. They do not have to use provisional ballots.
Many of the activists said they are skeptical that poll workers will allow them to vote if they are not on the registered list because of an error.
Kemp’s office said poll workers are trained to handle this issue and will have voter lists which will include pending voters.
“There are six different photo IDs that are acceptable to immediately fix a verification issue if a pending voter comes to the polls to vote. The list is in O.C.G.A. 21-2-417, but it includes a driver's license, a state identification card, a passport, a military ID, a tribal ID card, and a government-issued employee ID card.” Broce said.
Kemp’s office recommends all potential voters check the My Voter Page for their registration status at: https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do.
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