How’s this for an axiom that is especially self-evident: An elected official should not oversee an election in which he is a candidate. Tell that to Georgia gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, who is also the Georgia secretary of state and whose major responsibility is overseeing Georgia’s elections, including maintaining voter registration lists and certifying election results.
Kemp is in a close race against Stacey Abrams, the first black woman to win a major party’s gubernatorial nomination. Kemp’s decision to continue wearing his election-overseer hat even as he runs for office created an obvious conflict of interest, which he has brazenly exploited.
Last Monday, the Associated Press reported that Kemp’s office is blocking 53,000 voter registration applications. The applications were all flagged by Georgia’s “exact match” voter verification process, which was implemented by the state legislature last year. Under exact match, the information listed on voter application must exactly match information as it is listed either in a state driver’s license database or the federal Social Security database. Even the smallest discrepancy — a typo or a missing hyphen, for instance — can result in a hold on an application.
Read the full op-ed here.