ONE AND THE SAME

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp – who also happens to be running for governor against the first statewide contender Georgia Democrats have produced for that race since the late 1990s – is using one of the most common tricks in voter suppression to hold up 53,000 voter registration applications. Over 70% of the applications are from African-Americans.

It's called "Exact Matching" and it's one of the least-subtly racist things in election administration. Simply, it is a requirement (found nowhere in law or the relevant constitutions) that a voter registrant's name must match existing state records with a degree of precision that is rarely possible. For example, if the voter registers as Jose Quiñones but he is found in other state records as Jose Quinones, the application is rejected. Similarly, Warren Jones-Jackson and Warren Jones Jackson are, despite sharing a date of birth, address, and all other relevant personal information, treated as two different people.

This is little more than a net used to catch people whose surnames have punctuation marks. It also catches people who have changed their name at some point and failed to update it across all records, but in intent and practice (look at that 70% number again) such voters are considered mere collateral damage in the quest to kick black and Hispanic voters off the rolls.

Many states have tried this or successfully used such exacting "rules" over the years. It isn't new. It's just rarely so brazen, and it happened in a world in which a lot of people will realize in real time that it is happening.

People ask, what can we do about this? The short answers are that if you live in Georgia (or even if you don't), scream about it from now until Election Day and consider donating money to a group with the means and wherewithal to file a lawsuit seeking an injunction against this kind of blatantly racist nonsense.

Oh, and don't worry, Georgia is also using even simpler tricks like closing polling stations in black neighborhoods. It sounds like someone isn't terribly confident of winning his gubernatorial race.

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