In leaked audio from a ticketed fundraiser, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp — who is also the Republican candidate for governor — indicated concern over his opponent Stacey Abrams’ voter turnout operation, saying it “continues to concern us, especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote,” according to Rolling Stone.
> An attendee of the “Georgia Professionals for Kemp” event says they recorded 21 minutes and 12 seconds of the evening, held last Friday at the Blind Pig Parlour Bar near Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. As proof of their attendance, the source shared with Rolling Stone a receipt of their donation, which granted access to the gathering.
> Not long after Kemp began his remarks, the candidate expressed worry about early voting and “the literally tens of millions of dollars that they [the Abrams camp] are putting behind the get-out-the-vote effort to their base.”
> Kemp then asserted that much of that Abrams effort is focused on absentee ballot requests. “They have just an unprecedented number of that,” he said, “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.”
Kemp’s statements might not be unusual for a candidate, but in this case, his status as state attorney general overseeing the election is cause for added concern.
Further, Kemp also faces accusations of voter suppression via holding up voter registrations using his “exact match” law and the purging of voter rolls.
> While it is not uncommon for someone in such a position to be on a ballot during an election that he or she oversees — they do have to run for re-election, after all — the state’s top elections official speaking of “concern” about increased early and absentee voting raises further questions about a conflict of interest.
> Kemp’s recent decision to suspend more than 53,000 voter applications, 70 percent of which were filed by black residents, for violating the state’s “exact match” verification standard has drawn attention to his penchant for restrictive voter laws and purging of voter rolls. American Public Media reported last week that Kemp purged an estimated 107,000 voters last yearsimply because they didn’t vote in the prior election. He is also being sued for leaving more than 6 million Georgia voting records open to hacking.
In response to Rolling Stone’s request for comment regarding the leaked audio, Abrams’ Director of Strategic Communications Abigail Collazo said, “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.”