[Atlanta] â€œI was blocked from voting for Stacey Abrams.â€ Yasmin Bakhtiari is upset, horrified and determined. Her family had fled Iran for American democracy. But New York born Yasmin found democracy’s disappeared now that sheâ€™s located down in Brian Kempâ€™s Dixie.
Bakhtiari, who planned to vote for Kempâ€™s Democratic opponent Abrams, said poll workers told her, â€œYour name has been purged [from voter rolls] because you havenâ€™t voted in two election cycles.â€
Yet, according to rights attorney Jeanne Mirer of Mirer, Mazzocchi and Julien, New York, â€œthe National Voter Registration Act is crystal clear that you cannot lose your vote for not voting.â€
Federal law doesnâ€™t mean a whole lot to Kemp. The GOP candidate aired commercials in which he drawled, â€œIâ€™m so conservative I blow up government regulationsâ€ â€” followed by dynamite exploding in the background.
Kemp blew up a second federal law, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Bakhtiari said, â€œNot only could I not vote, but they didnâ€™t even let me do the provisional ballot.â€
Provisional ballots are required by HAVA specifically to allow voters wrongly purged to cast a ballot so the voter or candidates like Abrams can fight to have it counted by county officials or by court order.
Of course, Kemp had already ruled that counties cannot tally the ballots of voters he purged, no matter whether he purged them rightly or wrongly.
Bakhtiari says, â€œThe whole process was designed to use any excuse to not have you vote. This was a strategy from Kemp to discourage people from voting.â€
Abramsâ€™ legal team is fighting to count every ballot, including the piles of absentee ballots rejected under Kempâ€™s rules â€” and those provisionals â€” to force Kemp into a run-off.
The fact that Kemp is blocking legitimate requests for provisional ballots will make the push for a re-run that much harder. But if Abrams succeeds, Bakhtiari will re-register in time for the run-off.
And that will be one big problem for Kemp. Because, Bakhtiari warns Kemp, â€œNothing will stop me nowâ€¦ and I dare you to tell me that I canâ€™t vote.â€