A newly empowered Democratic House is coming after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp after he used nearly every trick in the Jim Crow voter suppression playbook to win office. Democrats said they want to address voter suppression ahead of the highly consequential 2020 elections.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee asked Kemp and his secretary of state successor Brad Raffensperger, both Republicans, to turn over documents related to Georgia’s 2018 midterm election, Axios reported.
In a letter to Kemp and Raffensperger, the committee instructed them to provide several documents by March 20, including documents concerning voter roll purges, holds placed on voter registration applications and polling site changes and closings.
“The Committee is particularly concerned by reports that Georgians faced unprecedented challenges with registering to vote and significant barriers to casting their votes during your tenure as secretary of state and during the 2018 election,” Reps. Elijah E. Cummings, the committee chairman, and Jamie Raskin, head of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, wrote to Kemp.
Kemp as Georgia secretary of state oversaw his own race for governor, which was close but ended in defeat for Stacey Abrams. There was damning evidence that pointed to Kemp using a variety of voter suppression tactics to target Black voters in particular. Abrams was competing to become the nation’s first Black woman governor.
Kemp found himself in the middle of a firestorm before Election Day after the Associated Press reported his office had placed more than 53,000 voter registration applications on hold—about 70 percent of them from African-Americans. He also faced multiple lawsuits, including one from a group of voting rights organizations accusing him of using a racially-biased method to purge the names of about 700,000 voters from the rolls.
Additionally, voters in predominantly African-American urban districts encountered lots of problems at the polls on Election Day—from faulty electronic machines that switched votes from Abrams to Kemp to excessively long lines because of missing power cords for voting machines.
After Democrats took control of the House in the 2018 midterms, the Congressional Black Caucus’ newly elected chair Rep. Karen Bass told NewsOne that addressing voter suppression would be at the top of its political agenda in 2019.
She pointed to the election that she said was stolen from Abrams and the election fraud crimes by North Carolina Republicans as examples of what cannot happen again in 2020.