Half a million Georgia voters were purged with no notice — and their provisional ballots likely won’t be counted. Brian Kemp, who until this week was Georgia’s secretary of state, is stealing the gubernatorial election from Stacey Abrams. Here’s how.
It begins with 92-year-old Christine Jordan, blocked from voting. Watch this 59-seconds of Jordan, Martin Luther King Jr.’s cousin, booted from the polls, her granddaughter in tears.
Grandmother Jordan was just one victim of Kemp’s mass cancellation of voter registrations—more than half a million Georgians purged in the night, stealthily, hidden from the public eye.
I’m not guessing. I had to sue Kemp in federal court to pry out of him the names and addresses of each voter whose rights he cancelled.
Kemp, until Thursday, was Georgia’s Secretary of State, running the election and running for Governor. If you don’t like gross conflicts of interest, stay out of Georgia.
Kemp’s “Placebo ballots” could win the election
When those half million voters showed up to vote, they were denied regular ballots – and most given something called a “provisional ballot.”
When some GOP voting chieftain takes away your vote, they don’t want you to raise hell. So they give you this “provisional” ballot. That way, you feel like you voted, but you haven’t. Not in Georgia.
Because, guess who decided the rules on whether to count your ballot? Answer: Candidate Kemp.
Voting rights activist Stacey Hopkins’ own son was purged – despite a court order Stacey obtained, with the help of the ACLU, to put him back on the rolls–along with 159,000 others Kemp wrongfully purged. Kemp apparently decided to ignore the courts. Again.
The result, says Hopkins, “They were handing out provisional ballots like Chicklets. In our precinct, which normally hands out eleven in an election, they handed out over 60.”
The Palast team went to historically Black Emory College on Tuesday night. The lines kept the poll open until 10pm, and they ran out of provisional ballots by 4pm. When Kemp’s office sent over a stack, the Black students filled out over one hundred provisionals in this precinct. This is just one of thousands of Black-majority precincts.
Salon.com previously reported that the Palast Investigative Fund hired experts at CohereOne to identify 340,134 voters they will swear in court Kemp removed illegally. And CohereOne is far from done going through Kemp’s voter-registration dumpster.
Those voters got no notice they were purged. When, like Rahiem Shabazz, Atlanta filmmaker, they showed up to vote, they were ambushed with the placebo ballot.
I went with Shabazz to his precinct this morning. He was not happy; “They put my ballot in a red bag, like it was biological hazard. They might throw it away. Kemp or his chosen successor gets to decide whether to count my ballot! The Suppressor-in-chief working for the Racist-in-Chief, Donald Trump.”
How many provisional ballots? Given the number of purged; given the arcane rule of “exact match” of driver’s license data and voter forms, given Georgia’s racially targeted voter ID laws – I could go on – it’s reasonable to project provisional ballots reaching 50,000.
Then there are voters like Yasmin Bakhtiari of Atlanta, trying to vote, and flatly denied even a provisional ballot—she asked three times over two hours—in direct violation of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).
They tried to do that to Ashlee Jones in DeKalb County. She had registered to vote twice on Kemp’s website and got no confirmation. Ashlee, an American mix of Latina, Black and White, was told she could not even get a provisional ballot. (I admit, I got a little heavy with the precinct officials, and turned on the cameras. Ashlee got her provisional ballot. But that tiny victory was Pyrrhic: She knows Kemp or his replacement will shred it.)
Our researcher Rachel Garbus called several rural counties whose supervisors told her that no purged voter would get a provisional ballot, only those that “deserve” it. Having witnessed the scary Kemp-Trump rally on Sunday, I can tell you the color of “deserving” voters.
So far, it appears that most provisional ballots, and stacks of absentee ballots, have simply been rejected. Yet there is zero evidence that even one of these voters who signed their ballot envelopes under penalty of perjury are not qualified voters.
As I write this, Kemp has already declared himself the next Governor—and, under pressure from a federal judge, resigned as Secretary of State. Pyrrhic victory that: His voter roll slashing job done, he can step aside as Georgia’s Purge’n General.
So there you have it. You could say the real winner of the election in Georgia appears to be Jim Crow—or, should I say, Brian Kemp’s close friend, database expert Dr. James Crow.