Secretary of State Brian Kemp on Thursday blasted accusations that his office has failed to help thousands of voters register to vote, saying “we should not have to waste valuable resources on a frivolous lawsuit.”
It’s the first time Kemp has commented since the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights filed suit against him and five Georgia counties last week, asking a state judge to make sure more than 55,000 people will be able to vote in the Nov. 4 election.
Kemp, however, said his office has now confirmed nearly 40,000 of those voters are active and on the rolls despite accusations to the contrary. He said almost 10,000 more are on the state’s “pending” voter list, meaning those voters have been asked to provide more information to confirm their identities.
More than 6,000 other registration forms involve deceased people or felons, or could not be traced because they were missing key tracking information such as a valid address or zip code. Kemp said one was listed for “Johnny B. Good” in a city of “Yo Town.”
The lawsuit came in direct response to the handling of voter registration applications by the state and Chatham, Clayton, DeKalb, Fulton and Muscogee counties as the forms were submitted by the New Georgia Project, a Democratic-backed group under investigation by Kemp over accusations of voter registration fraud. The suit also covers forms submitted by the state NAACP.
More than 50,000 of the paper forms submitted by the group seemed to be lost in the state’s voting system, Lawyers’ Committee attorney Julie Houk said last week. They neither appeared on voter rolls nor did they show up on lists of “pending” voters who have been asked to provide more information to verify who they are, she said.
An additional 5,000 of the forms appeared on pending lists, but Houk said some of the forms showed the information originally submitted — such as the last four digits of a person’s Social Security number — to be accurate. In other words, the Lawyers’ Committee questioned why these voters must provide additional proof of identification.
The applications were part of an overall registration drive that resulted in more than 85,000 new applications to the state’s voter system.
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