The office of Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is running as a Republican candidate for governor, reportedly has 53,000 voter registration applications sitting on hold in his office, the vast majority of which are from black residents.
According to the Associated Press, many applicants may be unaware that their applications have been placed on hold. Tuesday marked the state’s deadline for residents to register to vote in the midterm elections.
Many of these voter applications are on hold due to Kemp’s strict “exact match” verification process, which requires an applicant’s information to match exactly with what is listed by the state’s Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration, the AP reports.
The Hill reports:
Voting rights advocates have claimed Kemp’s “exact match” law discriminates against black and minority voters, pointing to the racial makeup of the list of stalled voter registration applications, which is 70 percent black, according to AP.
Georgia’s population is about 32 percent black, according to U.S. census data.
Kemp, however, is blaming a voter registration project launched by Abrams for racial disparities on the list of voter registration applications, the AP reported. He told the news service that the New Georgia Project, which Abrams headed as Georgia House minority leader in 2013, was disorganized when it sought to register large swaths of the state’s population. The New Georgia Project targeted black voters.
Kemp’s office said the disparity could be explained by “the higher usage of one method of registration among one particular demographic group,” according to the AP.
Kemp’s Democratic opponent for Georgia governor, Stacey Abrams, has previously accused Kemp of suppressing votes, particularly those of black and minority voters.
Abrams also called Kemp “a remarkable architect of voter suppression.”
Kemp’s campaign spokesman Ryan Mahoney said in a statement to the AP that thanks to Kemp, “it has never been easier to vote in our state.”