Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp fired off a ludicrous accusation against Stacey Abrams on Thursday, as he also announced under pressure that his office would allow scores of mostly Black voters to cast a ballot on Election Day.
Kemp, a Republican, oversees voter registration and elections as secretary of state. He’s also the GOP’s nominee for governor and is running against Abrams. She’s attempting to make history as the nation’s first African-American female governor. They are locked in a very tight race.
His office had placed more than 53,000 voter registration applications on hold—about 70 percent of them from African-Americans, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday. The AP report created a firestorm of criticism against Kemp, who’s backed by President Donald Trump.
Kemp denied any wrongdoing.
Nevertheless, in a tweet on Thursday morning, Kemp said the 53,000 registrants would be allowed to vote. He also accused Abrams of manufacturing “outrage off a problem she created” and using fear to raise campaign funds.
At issue was Georgia’s “exact match” law, which requires information on voter registration forms to exactly match the registrant’s ID information. Applications are put on hold, for example, if a registrant’s name appears on a driver’s license with a hyphen but the hyphen is missing on the registration application. Making matters worse, registrants are usually clueless about the reason election officials rejected their application.
A new poll shows that Kemp has a nominal two-point lead over Abrams. The Black voters among the 53,000 registrants at issue could easily push her over the top.
Meanwhile, voter rights advocates are keeping a close eye on Kemp.
“We sued Brian Kemp in #Georgia over his discriminatory exact match scheme in 2016 and won. We will not stand by idly while GA lawmakers resurrect this discriminatory policy again,” The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law tweeted on Thursday.