Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp is facing scrutiny over his role as the Secretary of State, the state’s chief elections administrator. Due to Kemps’ candidacy, a perceived conflict of interest has resulted in a lawsuit alleging voter suppression. On Sunday, Kemp accused the state Democratic party of trying to hack the election in a still developing story. Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know.
The ‘exact match’ law
In 2017, the Georgia General Assembly passed what is known as the “exact match law,” requiring all information on a voter’s registration to match exactly with a voter’s drivers license, state issued ID or Social Security records. If the information does not match exactly, even due to a missing hyphen or letter, the registration is put on hold. According to an investigation conducted by the Associated Press, 53,000 voter registrations are pending with Kemp’s office. 70 percent of registrations were listed as African-American.
On Oct. 11, the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, New Georgia Project(an organization started by Kemp’s opponent Stacey Abrams to register minority voters,) Asian-Americans Advancing Justice and more filed a lawsuit against Kemp, accusing him of voter suppression. According to the lawsuit, 80 percent of the people whose voter registrations were placed on hold are black, Latino or Asian American. Kemp responded by denying claims of voter suppression and tweeted that voters on the pending list are still able to vote in the Nov. 6 election if they bring ID confirming their information.
According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, critics of the law state that even though those with registrations on hold can still vote, it discourages them from going out to the polls, and if the mistakes on their application are not fixed within 26 months, the registration is canceled.
Federal Judge Ruling
On Nov. 2, a federal judge ruled that a procedure under the “exact match” law violated the voting rights of a large group of Georgians, according to The Washington Post.The procedure required those flagged as potential noncitizens after submitting their registration application to be cleared by a deputy registrar before being able to vote.This would have affected more than 3,000 potential voters. The U.S. District Judge Eleanor L. Ross issued a preliminary injunction requiring the state to immediately change this procedure to allow those flagged to vote by simply showing their U.S. passport or similar documentation to a poll manager to prove their citizenship.
Kemp accuses Democratic party of hacking attempt
On Nov. 4, the Secretary of State’s Office said in a press release that a failed hacking attempt into the state’s voter registration system had occurred on Nov. 3, blaming the Democratic Party of Georgia and opening an investigation.
"We opened an investigation into the Democratic Party of Georgia after receiving information from our legal team about failed efforts to breach the online voter registration system and My Voter Page,” the release said.
The office alerted the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security but provided no evidence in the release. The Secretary of State’s Office said it will provide more information when it is available. In response to the accusation, Democrats have said Kemp is abusing his power. Abrams told WSB-TV “[Kemp] is trying to rile up his base by misleading voters yet again.”