On Wednesday, the NAACP in Georgia filed a complaint against the Secretary of State’s office for voter suppression tactics regarding voting machine malfunctions across the state. Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp is currently Georgia’s Secretary of State presiding over the 2018 election. This is the second voter suppression complaint to surface against the Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, in the tight governor race between him and Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams.
Several voters have claimed that the machines were changing their votes from Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams to Brian Kemp. Voters say they had to repeatedly touch the screen in order to make sure it registered the correct candidate and emphasized that if they were not careful enough, their votes would not have been properly cast. In other instances, voters have claimed the machines would immediately spit out their ballot cards when inserted, preventing them from being able to vote. Other voters also reported the machines would cast their ballot before they even voted.
These screen malfunctions have occurred across Georgia in Bartow, Cobb, Henry and Dodge Counties. The 17 year old voting machines are unreliable and the NAACP urges those who are running the election to take responsibility in ensuring the machines are fully functional. Currently, Georgia is one of the five states that use the voting machines that have no paper trail, making them more vulnerable to hacking.
Voting machine malfunctions are among the many voter suppression efforts occurring in Georgia. In mid-October, Stacey Abrams and various civil rights groups sued the state of Georgia and Kemp for putting roughly 53,000 new voter registrations on hold because of Georgia’s “exact match” law, even though signatures are arbitrary. Following in that vein, in Gwinnett County, nearly one in ten absentee ballots have been rejected because of mismatched signatures, incomplete forms, or missing residential addresses.
Early voting in Georgia began on October 15th and will run until November 2nd. If elected, Stacey Abrams will become the first Black women in U.S. history to serve as state governor.
Voter suppression efforts have also occurred across the country including in Prairie View, Texas where early voting is not allowed at A&M HBCU, and in North Dakota whose new voter ID law disfranchises thousands of Native voters.
Newswire Sources: NAACP Press Release 10/24; The Root 10/24; Salon 10/24, USA Today 10/24, Feminist Newswire 10/25, 10/19, 10/17.