- Allow Kemp to win points among the Republican base that he needs to further his political ambitions.
And just to be clear, let me explain what I mean by “harmless technical violations.”
Under state law, every voter-registration form, regardless of merit, must be turned in to elections officials. The goal of that law is to ensure, for example, that Democrats running a voter-registration drive don’t throw away applications of those who might vote Republican, and vice versa. However, it also means that those running a registration drive are obliged by law to turn in forms that they themselves suspect might be invalid.
That is not “fraud” by any stretch of the imagination. In this context, Kemp intends “fraud” to suggest an illegal effort by Democrats to subvert an election, and again, I predict that suggestion will prove groundless and even irresponsible.
It is not, however, surprising. Nationwide, Republicans now treat every effort to encourage voting as a threat to their party, and for obvious reasons. In elections with high turnout, they do poorly. In elections with low turnout, they do well. Therefore, they seek elections with low turnout. Among Democrats, the calculation is reversed: The more Americans they can convince to vote, legally and properly, the better off they tend to do.
In DeKalb County, for example, officials this week announced that they would allow Sunday voting at three locations, a step likely to increase turnout in DeKalb and thus help Democrats. The step was quickly condemned as partisan, with Gov. Nathan Deal warning that he might seek to have the practice outlawed.
But why? Other counties are also free to have Sunday voting, and two — Democratic-leaning Fulton and Republican-leaning Lowndes — quickly followed DeKalb’s lead. As long as the opportunity to vote is equal, I don’t see the issue. I do, however, question the wisdom of a political party that bets its future on its ability to discourage voter participation in democracy.