More reports came in yesterday of possible voter suppression efforts in the closely watched Georgia race for governor, where Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams is running against Georgia’s current Secretary of State, Republican Brian Kemp.
The NAACP filed complaints with the Georgia Board of Elections for possible voter suppression tactics on Tuesday, saying some of the voting machines in several counties initially registered votes incorrectly. Voters reported selecting Abrams but finding Kemp’s box checked by their machines, according to USA Today.
“I was not going to leave until everything was the way I wanted it,” Pamela Grimes told USA Today. “If I had not been focused, my vote would have went for him.”
Voters also reportedly struggled with the touchscreen functions, as well as ballot cards being rejected when inserted into the electronic voting machines. Eyewitnesses from four separate counties—Bartow, Cobb, Henry, and Dodge—all reported defective machines. Kemp’s capacity as Secretary of State makes him the chief election officer, and therefore in charge of responding to complaints of voter suppression.
The Root spoke with the NAACP’s assistant general counsel, Khyla D. Craine, who said that these issues have been cropping up state-wide. With Georgia’s 17-year-old machines, these issues are nothing new, but Craine said that election officials need to take more care in ensuring they function properly.
“We are demanding that the Secretary of State ensure that machines are fully functional,” Craine said.
The machines are not the only area in which voters are experiencing issues, Craine added. She told The Root that those Georgia voters hoping to cast absentee ballots have been struggling with the Secretary of State’s “My Voter” page, leaving them unable to track their ballots.
These issues, along with Georgia’s status among the five U.S. states that have no paper trail for their voting machines, make the state among the most vulnerable this, and every, election.
Kemp’s election-related roadblocks started long before the approach of the 2018 midterms, however. During the 2016 presidential election, Politico reported that Kemp refused assistance from the Department of Homeland Security following the discovery of a massive vulnerability in the server housing software for voting machines across the state.
H/T The Root