- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 14, 2018

Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for Georgia governor, continued Sunday to accuse her Republican opponent of voter suppression even though the state recently broke its voter-registration record on his watch.

Ms. Abrams alleged that Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp has stalled 53,000 voter-registration forms as part of a “pattern of behavior” aimed at gaming the election in the GOP’s favor.

“It’s part of a pattern of behavior where he tries to tilt the playing field in his favor or in the favor of his party,” Ms. Abrams told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “This should not require the erosion of public trust.”

Mr. Kemp has blasted the voter-suppression claim, calling it “incredibly dishonest” and pointing out that the 53,000 voters whose registrations were flagged for discrepancies may still cast ballots.

“The 53,000 Georgians on our ‘pending’ list can vote in the Nov. 6 election,” said Mr. Kemp in a Wednesday post. “Her dark money voter registration group submitted sloppy forms. Now, they are faking outrage for political gain.”

His office announced last week that Georgia “has shattered has shattered the all-time voter registration record with over 6,915,000 active and inactive voters on the rolls,” a number expected to exceed 7 million as the final registrations are processed.

“Despite what you hear or read, the numbers are clear,” said Mr. Kemp in a statement. “While outside agitators disparage this office and falsely attack us, we have kept our head down and remained focused on ensuring secure, accessible, and fair elections for all voters.”

Ms. Abrams made appearances Sunday on both “Meet the Press” and CNN’s “State of the Union,” but was not asked about a video in which she appeared to endorse voting by immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

“The blue wave is African-American. It’s white, it’s Latino, it’s Asian Pacific Islander,” said Ms. Abrams in a speech Tuesday in Clayton County.

She added: “It is made up of those who have been told they are not worthy of being here. It is comprised of those who are documented and undocumented.”

Mr. Kemp accused her of “banking on illegal immigrants to secure victory for her at the ballot box.”

A civil-rights coalition filed a complaint Thursday after The Associated Press reported that 53,000 voter applications were pending for violations of the state’s “exact match” law, which requires registrations to match the information on voters’ driver’s licenses or Social Security cards.

The report also said that about 70 percent of the voters affected by the hold were black, prompting Ms. Abrams to suggest that the “exact match” law passed by the state legislature in 2017 was biased.

“When you know that what you’re doing is going to have a disproportionate effect on people of color and on women and you do it anyway, that erodes the public trust in the system, and that’s problematic,” Ms. Abrams said.

If elected, the Georgia House Minority Leader would become the first black female governor of any state. Polls show the contest is virtually deadlocked, though Mr. Kemp consistently holds a slight edge.

Mr. Abrams, who has also called for Mr. Kemp to resign his post as the state’s elections overseer, said the voter-registration law is designed to “scare people out of voting and make it harder for those who are willing to push through.”

“The miasma of fear that is created through voter suppression is as much about terrifying people about trying to vote as it is about actually blocking their ability to do so,” she told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Mr. Kemp described the allegation as a “manufactured ‘crisis’ to spur turnout for my opponent.”

“The fact is that it has never been easier to register to vote and get engaged in the electoral process in Georgia, and we are incredibly proud to report this new record,” Mr. Kemp said.

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