Monday, August 20, 2018
The Method Behind Kemp's Madness
Brian Kemp has been Georgia’s Secretary of State (SOS) for ten years. Many departments come under the purview of the SOS; Corporations, Occupational Licensing, Securities, Charities and Elections. While not to belittle the other divisions, the Elections Division is the most important because without a dependable, safe, secure voting system, the foundation of our democracy is threatened. Brian Kemp has been a miserable failure in managing our elections process and now, he wants to be our Governor.
BRIAN KEMP spent the past ten years preparing for his ultimate goal, that of running for Governor. Straight out of the gate, he began taking steps to suppress the voting rights of blacks and other minorities. He supported the Voter ID law. He fought for very oppressive voter laws. He purged 160,000 voters from active voter rolls simply because they moved to another location in the same county. In 2015 Kemp’s office sent out personal data on 6 million voters to 12 organizations on discs. He blamed it on a clerical error. He performed investigations into voter registration and turn-out efforts focused on minority voters, despite no evidence to do so. Kemp conducted a criminal investigation against his now opponent, Stacey Abrams’ new Georgia Project aimed at registering minorities. Of the 87,000 registration forms, only 53 were found to have irregularities. He refused to even register 40,000. He could have bought new voter systems with the money he has squandered on defending lawsuits. He actually made this statement, “Voter registration efforts were threatening Republican control in Georgia.” Preserving our right to vote is not a partisan issue, Mr. Kemp.
IN TOTAL, Kemp canceled 372,242 registered voters. With population in Georgia booming, there are less registered voters now than in 2010. Speaking to a group of his donors behind closed doors, Kemp said, “Registering all these minority voters that are out there … if they can do that, they can win these elections.”
KEMP HAS to have every vote that he can get outside of Atlanta to win. As of the 2010 census 54% of people living in Atlanta were black. The number has grown since then. Kemp is depending on rural Georgia to pull him over the finish line first. That is why he has to suppress every black or minority vote that he can.
IT WAS revealed last week that Brian Kemp has contracted with one of his associates, Mike Malone, to go around the counties and advise on polling places to close. Just so happens, these are counties with high black populations. He refused to say how much he was making. He later said he was checking on American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. When asked if he tried to find alternate polling places, he said, “I wasn’t hired to do that.” (Reminds me of that commercial where the dentist tells the man he has the worse cavity he’s ever seen but he’s not a fixer.) Ten counties with high black populations have already been visited by Malone and they heeded his advice to close certain polling places. Those counties are Bibb, Muscogee, Morgan, Lowndes, Evans, Telfair, Charlton, Green, Tift, Webster, and Randolph. I suppose North Georgia doesn’t have voters with disabilities.
IN RANDOLPH, where there are 62.5% blacks, 35% whites, and 2.42% other, Malone (on Kemp’s behalf) called for the closing of seven of the nine precincts. That would essentially disenfranchise a large percentage of black voters. Many have no automobiles and it would require a 30-mile round trip to vote. Do you see the method behind Kemp’s madness?
WHILE IT is not a law, it is customary for a state official to resign their current office if they are the nominee for another office. Kemp has declined to resign as SOS. The fact that Kemp is still suppressing the vote is particularly egregious since he is overseeing the election in which he is a candidate.
KEMP HAS ignored the vulnerabilities of our voting machines. He has been told they are susceptible to Russian hacking. He denies this. I guess he figures that if Trump won in 2016, why would he want to change anything with the machines, especially since he is on the ballot. These are the same machines used in 2016 and they have not been examined forensically. I fear my vote my not count in November.
A SECRETARY of State should not serve just the members of their party, whether it is Democrats or Republicans. Or, like Kemp, the office should not be used to tip the scales in his own favor. Our election process is sacred and should not be used as a political tool. A SOS should be as non-partisan as one can be.
JOHN BARROW is running for SOS. He will restore our confidence in our election systems and treat every voter’s registration form with respect and not throw it out because of party affiliation, race, or color. John Barrow has the stature of one worthy to be our Secretary of State. Plus, he said at the Blue Bridge Society last week he would expedite a decision on the county boundary line. Kemp has not issued a decision on the county line since 2011. Monroe County should stop him from making one now since he is a lame duck on the ballot. Let’s wait for a more honest and fair SOS, and then we can live better with whatever decision he makes.