Georgia's Republican secretary of state says he's worried what will happen 'if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote' in the November midterm election

  • Brian Kemp, Georgia’s Secretary of State and the Republican nominee for governor, said he is worried about his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams’ efforts to increase voter turnout ahead of the November 6 midterm election.
  • Kemp is in the middle of a heated gubernatorial race in Georgia where he has caught some flak for overseeing a purge of voter rolls in his state, which targeted some 107,000 voters who were removed from the rolls because they had not voted in previous elections.
  • Civil-rights groups have sued him for withholding 53,000 new voter registrations because of minor errors like missing hyphens.
  • The Georgia gubernatorial race is one of the most closely watched contests in the US ahead of Election Day. If Abrams wins, she will become the first African-American female governor in America.

Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state and the Republican nominee in the state’s governor’s race, admitted that he is concerned about Democratic efforts to ramp up voter turnout ahead of the midterm elections.

Kemp’s remarks were captured on an audio recording taken at a campaign fundraiser on Friday in Atlanta, Rolling Stone magazine reported on Tuesday.

Kemp is running against the Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams, who has worked to draw voters – especially people of colour – to the polls.

In the purported recording, Kemp spoke of Abrams’ campaign, referencing “the literally tens of millions of dollars that they are putting behind the get-out-the-vote effort to their base.”

“They have just an unprecedented number of that,” Kemp reportedly told donors, “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 and Abrams are in the middle of a heated gubernatorial contest in Georgia. If Abrams wins on November 6, she will become the first African-American female governor in the US.

There are many reasons for the voter-turnout effort, but the biggest one might be that, under Kemp’s watch as Georgia’s secretary of state, thousands of voters who had not recently cast a ballot in an election, were removed from the rolls. That has prompted worries about voter suppression.

Civil-rights groups have sued Kemp for putting 53,000 new voter registrations on hold because of errors like missing hyphens.

An Associated Press analysis revealed that while Georgia’s population is 32% African-American, according to the most recent census data, a full 70% of the 53,000 voters whose registration status had been put on hold identified as such, leading critics to accuse Kemp of deliberately disenfranchising likely Abrams voters.

Kemp says that the registrations put on hold to assure that noncitizens don’t vote in the Georgia election.

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