Georgia

Georgia Activists Occupy Secretary of State’s Office To Protest Voter Suppression

Published On October 28, 2014 | By Bob Rowen |

Angry with Georgia Republicans repeated efforts at voter suppression led by Republican Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, protestors occupied Kemp’s offices today. It was bad enough when we heard that as many as 40,000 new voter registrations in Georgia had not been processed.  It was worse when we heard that those registrations might not be processed before election day. But when Kemp argued that there was nothing in the law requiring those registrations to be processed in time, it was time to take action.

In a state embroiled in a close Senate Battle between Democrat Michele Nunn and Republican David Purdue, every vote is going to count. With that in mind the New Georgia Project, (NGP) a non-partisan group, has been working to register as many of the estimated 800,000 Georgians who were not registered at the beginning of the year. Many of those are young, between 18 and 29 or they are unmarried women. So, it should come as no surprise that republicans currently in power in the state House are doing all they can to suppress potential Democratic votes.

State Rep, Stacey Abrams, Democratic leader of the Georgia House and founder of the NGP said they and 12 partner groups had registered upwards of 116,000 new voters. They later found that registrations in 5 counties, mostly Democratic strongholds, 40,000 of those registrations had not been processed.

Kemp disputes that claim, suggesting any votes not processed were due to fraud or other problems. But records obtained by the Atlanta-based NBC News affiliate 11Alive News through an open records request showed only seven such complaints. And only one of them concerned NGP, the group’s founder, House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, a Democrat, told the station.

The NGP has filed suit which the state, led by Kemp is fighting, prompting today’s action. “What the Secretary of State is doing is nothing new for Georgia,” he noted. “It goes back through a long line of efforts to deny some people access to the ballot. Today, the people have had enough. We have caught the Secretary of State with his hands in the cookie jar. Georgia deserves better.”

As this story was going to press, news came in that the Fulton County Superior Court has refused to intervene in the case, calling it premature. So as Kemp said, there is nothing forcing the state to process outstanding voter registrations in time for the election.

Recent polling has anything from a Nunn 3 point lead to Purdue with the same. Every vote is going to count. The question is, will every vote be counted?

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Bob Rowen

A lifelong politics junkie with particular interests in privatization and other business and labor issues like minimum wage and immigration.Robert Rowen is also a writer of fiction.His first novel is called The Ballad of Llewellynn.

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