ICYMI: Kemp Defends Concerns of “All These Minority Voters” Registering and Voting
A Monday report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution highlighted testimony from Brian Kemp in a federal voting rights trial where he attempted to defend past comments voicing concerns about Democrats’ efforts “registering all these minority voters” and about a high number of Democratic absentee ballot requests, the majority of which were from voters of color.
Kemp’s comments were made while he was overseeing Georgia’s elections as Secretary of State, a tenure during which he:
• Canceled over 1.4 million voter registrations, including almost 670,000 in 2017.
• Put about 53,000 voter registrations on hold under the “exact match” policy.
• Encouraged polling location closures, 214 of which happened on his watch.
These actions directed by Kemp impacted the ability of voters of color to cast a ballot — the exact thing which Kemp voiced concern about when he made the comments.
“No matter how Brian Kemp tries to spin his indefensible comments, his record doesn’t lie — actions directed under his leadership hampered minority voters’ ability to cast a ballot. Georgians deserve a governor who respects and protects our right to vote, and who doesn’t see voters of color as a threat to their power,” said Max Flugrath, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Georgia.
After encouragement from Kemp to close voting locations, Georgia counties closed higher percentages of voting locations than any other state. Black Georgians made up a significant percentage of the population in several of the top counties where polls were closed.
Kemp also oversaw more than 1.4 million voter registrations canceled, and low-income and minority Georgians were most likely to be impacted.
Of the 53,000 voter registrations that Kemp put on hold shortly before the 2018 election under the “exact match” policy, nearly 70% were Black voters.
AJC: Kemp defends comments about minority voter registration in court
• In videotaped testimony, Gov. Brian Kemp explained his past concerns about Democrats’ minority voter turnout efforts, saying during a federal voting rights trial that he wanted Republicans to replicate those efforts.
• Kemp’s video deposition was played Friday in the trial over whether Georgia’s voting policies created illegal hurdles that prevent voters, especially Black voters, from participating in elections.
• Plaintiffs in the case, including the voting rights group Fair Fight Action, used Kemp’s comments to build their case alleging a history of racial discrimination in Georgia elections that they say continues today.
• During a 2014 meeting with Gwinnett County Republicans, Kemp had said Democrats were “registering all these minority voters that are out there and others that are sitting on the sidelines” before telling the crowd “we’ve got to do the exact same thing.”
• Then at a 2018 campaign event at the Blind Pig Parlour Bar in north Atlanta, Kemp said he was concerned that a large number of absentee ballot requests “continues to concern us, especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote, which they absolutely can.”
• The ongoing voting rights case targets Georgia’s “exact match” voter registration rules, absentee ballot cancellation practices and voter registration errors.