In Georgia, it’s easy to vote and hard to cheat.
That’s why if your voter registration application is “pending”, you can vote – by presenting a photo ID – in the November 6th election.
During my time as Secretary of State, I introduced online voter registration, electronic ballot delivery for military and overseas voters, and started the Student Ambassadors Program to encourage young Georgians to get involved in the democratic process.
Despite what the opposition pens, minority participation is up 23 percent, registration amongst 17.5- and 18-year-olds has more than doubled, and we set turnout records twice during the 2016 election cycle. Seven million Georgians are now on our voter rolls – that’s one million more than when I took office in 2010.
Along the way, I’ve butted heads with Stacey Abrams and the New Georgia Project (NGP).
Tasked with registering minority voters, NGP got off to a rough start, submitting thousands of incomplete and inaccurate forms during the 2014 election.
Leading Democrats like former Mayor Kasim Reed and former State Sen. Vincent Fort questioned Abrams’ and the organization’s tactics. People demanded proof that the millions raised by dark money sources were funding robust voting efforts. Instead, they saw publicity stunts on television but no measurable results at the ballot box.
Just weeks ago, the Abrams for Governor campaign felt a sudden loss of momentum. Instead of hitting the road to connect with Georgia voters, they manufactured a ‘crisis’ and asked left-wing allies to fan the flames.
As expected, the media never questioned the source or the facts. Next thing you know, Stacey Abrams was working the Sunday morning talk circuit.
As you now know, there are 53,000”pending” voter registrations in Georgia. Every real, qualified registrant can vote in the November 6 election. Like you and me, they need to present their photo ID. They will vote a regular ballot; their information will be updated seamlessly.
So how did these registrations earn “pending” status? Easy answer. The New Georgia Project.
Instead of embracing Online Voter Registration, which takes less than a minute to complete with 100 percent accuracy, NGP uses paper voter registration forms.
Incentivized by money, canvassers want quantity over accuracy. NGP leaders intentionally flood elections offices with sloppy forms. It’s a key ingredient for their fake outrage and fear-mongering entree that they serve up before major elections.
This year, however, Abrams and NGP went a step further and didn’t think we would notice.
During a rally with U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Abrams declared that “undocumented” residents of Georgia were part of the “Blue Wave” that would carry her to victory.
Just days later, NGP filed a lawsuit about the 53,000 pending registrations. Buried deep on page 50 is a demand for permanent voting rights for “non-citizens” in Georgia.
While shocking, this blatant effort to usurp the Constitution is unsurprising.
During her time in the Georgia General Assembly, Abrams led efforts to stop citizenship check and photo ID laws. While lawmakers worked to block “non citizens” from casting a ballot in the Peach State, Abrams fought to make it easier.
Abrams voted against SB 86 in 2009, which required proof of citizenship when registering to vote, SB 92 in 2011, which created Georgia’s online voter registration system - and even voted against making voter fraud a felony in SB 40 in 2007.
When questioned this week about her intentions, Abrams declared, “I’ve never once argued for anyone who was not legally allowed to vote in the state of Georgia to be allowed to vote.”
Honestly, I don’t know what’s worse. Actively working to undermine the rule of law by letting illegal immigrants vote or lying about it. Either way, it’s abundantly clear that Abrams’ intentions are frightening.
This is a battle for the soul of our state. A fight for our future.
Brian Kemp oversees elections as Georgia’s Secretary of State. He is the Republican candidate for governor in November.