Voters lined up for Thursday for early voting outside in Lawrenceville. HYOSUB SHIN
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

The Jolt: Kemp said to look at what’s ‘buried deep on Page 50.’ So we did.

From the top on down, it appears that Republicans have chosen immigration as the issue to drive the last of their voters to the polls in 15 days. The Tweet from the White House this morning:

Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy. Must change laws!

We’re pretty sure he meant “emergency.”

In Georgia, the Republican gubernatorial campaign of Brian Kemp began Monday with a WSB Radio interview with Scott Slade, offering his sharpest response yet to litigation filed by voting rights groups targeting his office’s use of exact-match standards that have left more than 50,000 potential voters in a form of limbo.

Kemp said about three-quarters of the names on the state’s “pending” list failed a match standard because the last four digits of their Social Security numbers didn’t match their voter registration applications.

“They either made the number up or messed the number up,” he said.

Kemp said another 14 percent of the “pending” names have been on the list since 2014, while others have moved from Georgia or are deceased.

“Stacey Abrams is accusing me of following the law,” he said. Kemp said one of the applications had the name “Jesus” from “Heaven Street.”

“As much as I’d like to register Jesus to vote in Georgia,” he said, “the law says I can’t do that.”

Also early Monday, the Kemp campaign offered up what looks like an op-ed for use by newspapers across the state. This one is a bit different than the one Kemp and his campaign penned for the AJC on Sunday – in that it focuses solely on voting security, and accuses Democratic rival Stacey Abrams of engaging in a plot to bring illegal immigrants to the polls. From the Kemp piece:

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.

Yes, she said that, but she also included the rest of humanity in that definition. From the Clayton County speech in question:

“The thing of it is, is that blue waves aren’t blue ... the blue wave is African-American. It’s white, it’s Latino, it’s Asian-Pacific Islander. It is disabled. It is differently abled. It is LGBTQ, it is law enforcement. It is veterans. It is made up of those who have been told they are not worthy of being here. It is comprised of those who are documented and undocumented. It is comprised of those who have been told they’re successful and those who have been left behind.”

But here’s where the Monday piece under Kemp’s byline gets interesting:

Just days later, Abrams and [the New Georgia Project] 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.

This is the “exact match” lawsuit that Kemp discussed on WSB Radio this morning. He provided no link to the federal lawsuit for such an inspection, but we will. And it appears that he’s focused on one paragraph listing the remedies sought from the judge. The suit asks that election officials be required to:

“Count, in the November 2018 election and all future elections, (1) all absentee ballots cast by Georgia voters using non-photographic forms of identity pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 21-2-417(c), and (2) all provisional ballots cast by Georgia voters who are in pending status because they have been inaccurately flagged as a potential “non-citizen”…

The world “inaccurately” was added to the above paragraph by lawyers on Friday, after Kemp began pointing to it, along with other changes. The paragraph is now actually on Page 54. But with or without the word, it’s very clear that the lawsuit is addressing newly naturalized citizens who have already produced proof of citizenship, but whose new status does not appear in the state’s driver’s license or federal Social Security databases. In the very next paragraph, plaintiffs ask the judge to require election officials to:

Enforce a strict protocol that when voters are flagged as “non-citizen” by DDS or produce “no-match” from the DDS or SSA databases, before contacting the voter about the issue, registrars must check the initial registration. If proof of citizenship or identity was provided, voters should mark those requirements as met.

And that’s what was on Page 50.  And is now on Page 54.

***

Democrat John Barrow is veering away from his party’s distinctively progressive tilt, in a new 30-second spot that puts him at the edge of a cow pasture.

The former congressman is in a statewide race for secretary of state. His Republican opponent, Brad Raffensperger, sent out a fundraising appeal predicting the ad will “attack me but will also promote his liberal agenda.”

But this ad does neither.

Barrow instead highlights a centrist record in Congress that includes votes to cut taxes and slash spending. “And each time, I crossed the aisle and worked with Republicans. As secretary of state, I’ll do the same thing.”

But it’s this closing line that grabs: “Yeah I’m a Democrat. But I won’t bite you.” Watch it here:

***

The Daily Report tells us that state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, accused in federal lawsuit of conspiring with Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren to bar Kennesaw State University cheerleaders from kneeling during the national anthem, has asked a judge to dismiss the claim.

Ehrhart is leaving the Legislature, but his wife Ginny is on the Nov. 6 ballot to replace him. According to the Daily Report:

… Ehrhart contends that the constitutional rights of student athletes at public colleges and universities are more limited than their fellow students because they are representatives of government-funded institutions and, by extension, of the government that funds them.

*** 

We’re not familiar with the firm, and we don’t know how much stock to put into it, but an outfit called Bold Blue campaigns says it has a poll in which Republican incumbent Rob Woodall is up 49 to 43 percent over Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux in the Seventh District congressional race. (MOE +/-4.5%)

The strange thing is that the same voters are somewhat more likely to favor Democrat Stacey Abrams over Republican Brian Kemp in the race for governor, 47 to 46 percent. Details can be had here.

***

A widely-panned proposal from Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue that sought to give families government-selected “harvest boxes” in lieu of some food stamp payments could see new life in the months ahead. The former Georgia governor told reporters late last week that such boxes are “a great idea, frankly” and that Congress should let his department pilot the concept. Food stamp participants could have “fresh fruits and vegetables and a good value meal cheaper than we're providing it now,” said Perdue, according to Politico. He suggested the proposal be revived in his department’s next budget.

***

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