Several advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit in district court against the state of Georgia alleging that Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s “exact match” voting requirement is in violation of the Voting Rights Act, the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the National Voter Registration Act. The “exact match” system stipulates that signatures on voter registration forms much match signatures already on file with the state.
Brain Kemp, now running for the governorship of Georgia, has previously been ordered by the courts to stop using the “exact match” system, but the Republican-led state legislature passed a law allowing the use of the system despite the settlement. At issue, is that the “exact match” system has paused the registration of 53,000 Georgia residents, and of that number 70% of them are African-American.
Advocacy groups claim that the “exact match” disproportionately targets Africa-American, Asian-American, and Latino voters. Although those with pending registrations are still allowed to vote by provisional ballot, those who have voted by mail may have their ballots rejected because of the “exact match” system without them knowing. And because Georgia law stipulates that voters who miss three voting cycles will be purged from voting roles, many of these pending voters will not know that they have been removed from the voting role.
Kemp argues that there is no issue, as people can still vote by showing appropriate identification and filling out their provisional ballot. Candice Broce, the press secretary for Brain Kemp, stated that the lawsuit was nothing more than a publicity stunt meant to waste taxpayer funds and dollars. Kemp says that it is easier than ever to register to vote and that 7 million registered voters will be voting in the upcoming mid-term election. He also alleges that Stacy Abrams, the democrat running for governor against him, is using this fake crisis to gin up support among her voter base. Abrams has called for Kemp to resign as Secretary of State, stating that he cannot oversee the election in an impartial way, considering he is on the ballot.
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has also weighed in on the controversy, sending a letter to Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, claiming that Kemp and the state of Georgia are intentionally trying to suppress African-American voters. The CBC also took the Department of Justice to task on their “complete abdication” of the responsibility they have to oversee voting rights and protect people’s right to vote.