The flagrant right-wing efforts to repress the vote in Georgia and keep African-American citizens from exercising their rights ahead of the 2018 midterm elections have rightfully been a subject of national attention over the past few weeks.
Republican candidate Brian Kemp has earned a torrent of criticism for his decision to openly abuse his position as Secretary of State to kick nearly a hundred thousand people off of the voting rolls, suspend the applications of 53,000 more would-be voters, and reject nearly 600 absentee ballots in one of the most diverse counties in the state.
Now, Rolling Stone has obtained leaked audio of Kemp wringing his hands over voter turnout behind closed doors at a donor’s meeting, seemingly complaining about voters being able to vote at all.
Complaining about “the literally tens of millions of dollars that they [the Abrams camp] are putting behind the get-out-the-vote effort to their base,” Kemp went on to show his frustration with American democracy as a whole:
“They have just an unprecedented number of [absentee ballots] 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.”
As a politician, if you're concerned about people using and exercising their right to vote, YOU'RE IN THE WRONG. https://t.co/oepCxuM3NL
— Lee J. Carter (@carterforva) October 23, 2018
While it’s not exactly a surprise to see that the Republican is concerned about his rival’s voter turnout efforts, the fact that he’s doing so when his literal job is being in charge of elections makes it clear that he is waist-deep in a serious ethical quagmire and should be forced to recuse himself from managing this election.
There are no less than three Republican Secretaries of State who are suspected of abusing their positions and attempting to repress the vote to help their own elections; Kemp in Georgia, former Trump voter suppression czar Kris Kobach in Kansas and Ohio’s Jon Usted.
It just goes to show how important elections are at every level of our government, be it local, state, or federal — and how much work Democrats have ahead of them to ensure that every citizen gets a chance to exercise their right to vote.
Original reporting by Jamil Smith at Rolling Stone.