May 25, 2022

A federal judge just shot down Brian Kemp’s key voter suppression trick

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The Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda just won a major lawsuit in federal court to shut down a multi-year Republican voter suppression effort.

A federal judge’s decision (embedded below) blocked the state of Georgia from disqualifying over 3,000 voters with the “exact match” rule which would’ve disproportionately impacted recently naturalized minority voters who have out of place hyphens, minor misspellings, or other insignificant deviations of their names on the voter rolls.

This is the second major lawsuit that Republican candidate Brian Kemp and the state of Georgia have lost in the last ten days alone.  Courthouse News reports:

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A federal judge ruled Friday that Georgia’s “exact match” requirement for voter identification “places a severe burden” on prospective voters and will not apply for next Tuesday’s midterm election.

The “exact match” law applied by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who also happens to running for governor in a tight race against Democrat Stacey Abrams, marks an applicant’s registration as “pending” if the personal information on their voter registration form doesn’t exactly match the information on the state’s Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration.

Another 48,000 voters registrations are still at risk by Georgia’s “exact match” decision and subject to further litigation in the case, though the court ordered Kemp to issue a press release clarifying the hurdles those voters will face going to the polls.

As ThinkProgress founder Judd Legum explained in an interview today, Kemp is very “concerned what happens if everyone votes” in his race against Abrams.

Judge Eleanor Ross’ decision guaranteed the right to vote to recent U.S. citizens whom Georgia’s Republican gubernatorial nominee was trying hard to keep out away from the ballot boxes.

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“There is misleading information at least on the Secretary of State’s website,” noted federal judge who was appointed by President Obama in 2013, “about how to prove citizenship at the polls and there has been a lack of training of election officials for verifying citizenship at the polls, all of which could lead to these individuals not being able to cast a vote in the upcoming election.”

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Georgia’s illegal rejection of recent citizens only came to light on October 16th of this year when a new citizen named Yotam Oren tried to vote over a period of two days and was rejected. The successful lawsuit was filed on October 19th.

Last Wednesday, the ACLU also won a federal lawsuit to keep Georgia officials from rejecting absentee ballots using signature mismatches.

After publication of this story, the ACLU beat Kemp on appeal of last week’s decision.

This sad state of affairs is only possible in Georgia because of the Supreme Court’s irrational decision written by five GOP appointees in the case of Shelby County vs. Holder which threw out the Voting Rights Act’s map of places which require pre-clearance before making changes to their voting practices.

That gutted America’s top voter protection law.

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Since then, Republican-dominated legislatures and GOP elected officials have worked precisely and diligently to deny the right to vote in many of the districts previously regulated by the Voting Rights Act, while their partisan colleagues in Congress studiously avoided creating a new map to protect voting rights.

If you have problems voting, the non-partisan Election Protection coalition has a national hotline which can be reached by dialing 866-687-6863 toll-free from any phone.

Help Stacey Abrams make history and donate to her campaign here.

Read the complete decision here:

Grant Stern

Editor at Large

is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also a mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, an unpaid senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition, and a Director of Sunshine Agenda Inc. a government transparency nonprofit organization.

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