The Georgia NAACP is preparing to sue Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican nominee for governor, in response to a report that Kemp’s office has put on hold tens of thousands of voter registration applications, most of them from African-Americans, ahead of the election.
The injunction would seek to reopen voter registration in Georgia to ensure that 53,000 registrants on hold in Kemp’s office — and possibly others affected by an outage of the Georgia Department of Driver Services and the state’s voter registration website — would be allowed to register for the upcoming election.
The move was confirmed by to two people with knowledge of the NAACP of Georgia’s plans. The last day to register to vote was Tuesday.
The strict policies enforced by Kemp’s office for voter registration and verification have been under scrutiny in his campaign against Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, who once ran a focused on registering new voters.
Under Kemp’s verification policies, voter application information must perfectly match information on file at Georgia’s Social Security Administration and the state’s Department of Driver Services. If they don’t match precisely, officials can put the application on hold.
An analysis conducted by The Associated Press found that almost 70 percent of the registrants currently on hold are black. Georgia’s population is 32 percent black.
Abrams needs strong African-American turnout in the state to win the governor’s race. Allies of Abrams argue that Kemp is deliberately trying to purge voter rolls to his advantage.
In a statement in response to The Associated Press report Wednesday night, Abrams spokesperson Abigail Collazo said that Kemp is "maliciously wielding the power of his office to suppress the vote for political gain and silence the voices of thousands of eligible voters — the majority of them people of color."
A spokesman for Kemp did not immediately respond to a request for comment.