Abrams: GOP candidate 'absolutely' intended to suppress black voters


Stacey Abrams is looking out for the Georgia voters that Brian Kemp is trying to cheat.

Democratic candidate for Georgia governor Stacey Abrams called out her Republican opponent for a scheme to suppress minority voters in the upcoming gubernatorial election, saying the plan's discriminatory effects were "absolutely" intentional.

On Sunday morning's edition of "Meet the Press," host Chuck Todd described the so-called "exact match" program that has resulted in 53,000 voter registrations — 70 percent of which belonged to black voters — being placed on hold in Georgia.

"Do you believe this is an intentional decision by your opponent and the office that he runs?" Todd asked, referring to current Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

"Absolutely," Abrams replied.

Abrams said this was part of a "pattern of behavior" on Kemp's part, and pointed out that Kemp was forced to settle a lawsuit over the same process in 2016 because it had "a disproportionate effect on people of color."

"The challenge is twofold," Abrams said. "One is that we know [exact match] is a flawed system that has a disproportionate effect on people of color. But it also has the ability to erode trust in our system. I know that Secretary Kemp is well aware of this. And 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."

When Todd asked Abrams if she's confident the election will be fair, Abrams said she is, in spite of the hurdles being set up by people like Kemp.

"My organization, working with the Democratic Party, we've put together the largest voter protection effort in the state's history," Abrams said. "And we have national organizations that are also paying attention."

Kemp's latest plot to disenfranchise voters of color has led Abrams and others to call on Kemp to resign as secretary of state, a position which places him in charge of the election he's trying to cheat to win.

Abrams also appeared on Sunday's edition of CNN's "State of the Union," where host Jake Tapper asked her why Kemp should resign if he's just "doing his job" by following a law passed by the state legislature.

But as Abrams explained, Kemp helped get the exact match law passed in the first place — and he also has a "larger pattern" of working to suppress minority votes.

"This is a larger pattern of behavior," Abrams said. "This is someone who sued a woman for helping her blind mother cast a ballot, who closed more than 200 polling places across the state."

And even though Kemp was sued over his exact match policy and forced to restore 33,000 voter registrations that were illegally canceled, Abrams said, "he turned around and got the state legislature to pass a law to allow him to make the same mistake again."

As Abrams noted, this is indeed part of a long pattern of voter suppression on Kemp's part.

His office has repeatedly purged voter rolls in Georgia, cancelling 1.4 million registrations since 2012. In 2017, Kemp cancelled almost 670,000 registrations.

And earlier this year, a consultant handpicked by Kemp went to Randolph County, a majority-black county in southwest Georgia, and tried to convince county officials to close 7 of 9 polling locations. That effort failed, thanks to national outrage and activism.

Georgians are lucky to have Abrams standing up for their voting rights — but they'd be better off if Kemp wouldn't try to rob them of those rights in the first place.