Brian Kemp Is Blocking 53K Applicants From Registering To Vote, Most Of Them Black

ATHENS, GA - JULY 24:  Secretary of State and Republican Gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp addresses the audience and declares victory during an election watch party on July 24, 2018 in Athens, Georgia. Kemp defeated opponent Casey Cagle in a runoff election for the Republican nomination for the Georgia Governor's race.  (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)
Jessica McGowan/Getty Images North America

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s (R) office is blocking 53,000 people from registering to vote, according to records obtained by the Associated Press, a huge number that could sway his gubernatorial race against Democrat Stacey Abrams.

As TPM laid out this morning, Kemp has used a controversial “exact match” program to approve or block voter registrations that disproportionately impacts minority voters.

Now we know exactly how many people that might affect this election. According to the AP, fully 70 percent of the voter applications that are being held up by Kemp’s office are from black people.

It’s unclear how many of these voters will be able to get on the rolls by Election Day.

People whose registrations are still pending have 26 months to correct the problem, and get one notice by mail advising them of the issue. They can still vote in-person provided they present a driver’s license or other form of photo ID, something that minorities are less likely to have, or cast a provisional vote and return within three days with valid proof of identification.

The secretary of state has waged a years-long battle against voting rights groups in the state, regularly going after minority voter registration efforts, while purging voting rolls and making it harder for many people to vote.

This figure shows how much impact that could have. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s (R) 8-point reelection margin in 2014 was just 200,000 votes total. Abrams and Kemp have been statistically tied in most public and private polls. Whether or not these voters get on the rolls could determine who wins the election.

This story was updated at 9:20 p.m. to more fully explain the state’s exact match law.

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