Georgia Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp (R) was caught on tape voicing concerns about his Democratic opponent’s efforts to increase voter turnout, saying that it “continues to concern us, especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote.”
“They have just an unprecedented number of that,” he said in the audio reportedly recorded at a Georgia Professionals for Kemp event last Friday and obtained by Rolling Stone. “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.”
The audio adds to accusations raised earlier in the election that Kemp has used his position as secretary of state to purge voting rolls to his own benefit.
In July 2017, more than half a million people were purged from Georgia’s voter rolls. Of those, 107,000 residents were removed because they had decided not to vote in previous elections and they failed to respond to mailed notices from the state, reports NPR.
The Georgia NAACP is currently suing Kemp over the voter purge.
The Hill notes:
Additional questions have been raised during the campaign over Kemp’s voter management, including a dispute over the state’s “exact match law” that resulted in 53,000 voter registration applications, a majority of which came from black voters, being put on hold.
Abigail Collazo, director of strategic communications for the Abrams campaign, told Rolling Stone that Kemp’s comments represent a larger voter suppression effort.
“Brian Kemp is barely trying to hide the shameful fact that his strategy is to win through voter suppression,” she claimed.
“The idea that he, as Secretary of State, would be ‘concerned’ that hardworking Georgians are exercising their right to vote is disgraceful and outrageous.”