Brian Kemp, Georgia Secretary of State and Republican Gubernatorial candidate, told supporters at a private campaign event Oct. 19, that he has concern over the progress his democratic opponent Stacey Abrams, has made to elevate voter turnout for Democrats in the upcoming Nov. 6 midterm elections.
In exclusive audio obtained from an attendee of the event at the Blind Pig Parlour Bar in Atlanta, Rolling Stone reported that Kemp was focused primarily on the numbers of Democratic voters who have turned out for early and absentee voting so far in the state.
“They have just an unprecedented number of that,” said Kemp, “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 said that his concern stemmed from the millions of dollars that Abrams has put into a get-out-the-vote campaign that has shown success in the state despite Kemp’s actions to limit the number of voters eligible to show at the polls in November.
A number of actions from the Georgia Secretary of State have brought up questions regarding his ethics in the office, and possible manipulation of voter rolls to benefit himself and his party in the upcoming midterms.
Kemp’s office purged 107,000 voters from Georgia’s voter registration rolls in July 2017, of those who did not vote in the previous election.
“We’re following the process,” said Kemp in an interview with WABE. “I’m very proud of my record on making sure we have secure, accessible and fair elections.”
Additionally, Kemp blocked 53,000 Georgia residents from registering to vote, most of whom were African-American, according to analysis from the Associated Press; and 595 absentee ballots in Gwinnett County were recently rejected, most of which were submitted by minority voters as well. Kemp is facing a lawsuit for the Gwinnett County rejections.
“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,” said Abigail Collazo, Director of Strategic Communications for the Abrams campaign.
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Rachel Lucio is a freelance writer in Austin, TX. She has been writing professionally since 1991, and has covered state, local and national government for more than a decade.