Activist: Georgia GOP’s own comments illustrate their plan to suppress minority voters
Hot on the heels of a Georgia Republican state senator’s declaration that he “prefers educated voters” over “African-American shoppers” and other voters recruited in African-American neighborhoods, audio has surfaced of the Republican Secretary of State disparaging Democrats’ efforts to register “all these minority voters.”
In audio recorded at a Republican Party event on July 12 in Gwinnett County and made available by progressive group Better Georgia, Secretary of State Brian Kemp warned that “Democrats are working hard, and all these stories about them, you know, registering all these minority voters that are out there and others that are sitting on the sidelines, if they can do that, they can win these elections in November.”
Raw Story spoke to Better Georgia’s Bryan Long, who said he is disappointed, but not surprised that Georgia’s Republican politicians have “decided not to use code words” about African-American and Latino voters anymore.
“The Republicans here in Georgia aren’t very sophisticated,” Long said, “because they haven’t had competition for a decade. So, nationally, Republicans have had to learn how to debate issues and talk about them in GOP code, in Georgia they feel like they can say anything they want and get away with it, no consequences.”
“They’re going to be proven wrong on November 4,” he predicted.
In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal (R) is running against state Sen. Jason Carter (D), grandson of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. Deal has been mired in ethics scandals literally since the day he took office.
Democrat Michelle Nunn is running to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Both races, said Long, are dead even. The elections will be decided, he said, by turnout, which is why Republicans like Deal and Kemp are trying to keep people from voting.
Whatever his off-the-cuff remarks in Gwinnett may have been, Kemp has trumped up a vote fraud investigation against one nonpartisan group that has been registering black and Hispanic voters.
Kemp launched an investigation this week of the New Georgia Project, a coalition that is attempting to bring voters who have been underserved by the electoral system back up-to-date on their voting rights and registration.
“It is a non-partisan project,” said Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams (D) to the Washington Post. The group reached out pro-actively to the Secretary of State’s office, she said, to make sure all of their registrations were within state law.
Gov. Deal, meanwhile, has launched his own initiative to shut down Sunday voting, which polls have shown will disproportionately affect minority and working people who can’t take off work on Election Day.
“(I)t has a partisan purpose behind it of trying to increase the Democratic turnout,” said Deal of Sunday voting in the state. “I don’t think anything that has to do with elections should be tilted one way or the other for partisan purposes.”
Long said the state GOP’s efforts are aimed squarely at reducing the electoral clout of nonwhites in the state.
“They don’t care about what day people vote,” he said. “They care about who votes and what those people look like.”
“They want to choose the people who vote. The fewer people who vote, the better for the Republicans,” Long said. Better Georgia, he said, is dedicated to making sure the vote accurately reflects the electorate, which has become increasingly diverse and where “minority voters” are becoming less and less of a minority.
Watch video about this story, embedded below via Better Georgia:
[image of Brian Kemp via Georgia Sec. of State website]