This week, we released the names of every single voter Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp flushed from voter rolls in 2017. Check the list. If you’re name is on it, re-register right now.
It took the threat of a federal law suit to force Kemp, to turn over the names of those whose citizenship rights he quietly extinguished. Among the voters purged are thousands who supposedly left the state but remain in Georgia. Kemp sent no notice to these citizens after he took away their voting rights. If they show up to vote on November 6, they’re out of luck – and so is Georgia’s democracy.
Four years ago, I began an investigation for Rolling Stone of a secretive program of purges of voter registrations directed by Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State of Kansas who has claimed – in the teeth of facts saying otherwise – that millions upon million of illegal voters are invading our elections.
Kemp is a fanatic follower of Kobach, one of two dozen state voting chiefs, almost all Republicans, who had used Kobach’s long discredited “Interstate Crosscheck” list to target and remove innocent voters.
I know, because an insider has given my investigator Zach D. Roberts the Crosscheck list of over half a million Georgians that Kobach transmitted to Kemp, who used the list to begin a long-term removal of some of the voters on that list. (And Kobach himself proudly states that Kemp has turned over Georgia’s voter files to Kobach for several years.)
Interstate Crosscheck purports to hunt down and expose voters who have registered in more than one state. It was sold as a way to find, as Trump put it, “the many, many people who are voting twice” – say, once in Georgia, and once in another state.
While this army of double voters has never been found, the list has been used for a far more sinister purpose. Kobach promotes his Crosscheck list as “evidence” that voters on it have moved out of state – they’ve registered in another state and therefore should be purged from the state from which they’ve moved.
But have they? Kemp has stonewalled my requests – and my lawyer’s – for the Georgia Crosscheck hit list, but one of his aide’s unwittingly sent us the entire list.
Look at these voters who allegedly “moved” from Georgia:
Clearly, the list is flawed – and dangerously so. At least one-in-four “matches” mismatch middle names or mix “Jr.” and “Sr.” as the same person.
Kemp, rather than face me before a federal judge, provided the voters removed – but, notably, left out the voter’s middle names. How curious.
He’s also refused, despite the requirements of transparency in the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, to state in detail why he’s purged each of the monstrously large number of Georgians.
This much we can piece together, per Kobach’s direction, Kemp sends those captured on the Crosscheck list a postcard to confirm their voting address. It looks like junk mail. About 80% of those who receive it just toss it away.
Bad idea. Because if you toss away the postcard and then skip two federal elections, your registration gets cancelled. And you get no further notice.
And in June of this year, the US Supreme Court affirmed, five-to-four, that states could remove voters who skip elections or miss a postcard if that is good faith evidence the voter has moved.
But having the bad luck of having a common name (Rodriguez, Jackson, Kim) and ending up on Crosscheck is not any reasonable indication you’ve moved. There are over 500 men named “James Brown” on the Georgia list mismatched with other James Browns, most with other middle names and in other states.
And, as the NAACP has noted, and our research confirmed, using common names is a darn good way to knock out voters of color.
”¨We are not guessing that innocents have been captured in this removal of “inactive” voters. My foundation hired the best “address confirmation” and database experts in America to review the entire Georgia purge list. And guess what? Thousands are still at the address at which they’ve registered. And many more have moved within their zipcode or county. I found one voter purged who had simply moved within her building.
Kemp has turned over the names but precious little else. He won’t cough up the Crosscheck lists. He claims, correctly, he isn’t using Crosscheck this year. So what? It was those on the Crosscheck lists of 2013 and 2014 that are the ones losing their right to vote in this mid-term.
Therefore, I have come to Atlanta to join with co-plaintiffs Joe Beasley of Rainbow/PUSH and Dr. Charles Steele to give Kemp his last and final warning: Put these purged voters back before the election – and give us a full accounting of your purge program – or see us in federal court, where we’ll be represented, pro bono, by the law firm of Mirer Mazzocchi Julien (New York).
The suit, filed under the National Voting Rights Act of 1993, will seek to get the entirety of the Kemp-Crosscheck files and the methods used to confirm voters have supposedly left the state – and thereby allow the restoration of the voting rights of thousands. Legitimate and eligible voters – mostly minority – have been illegally canceled. This lawsuit against Kemp is designed to correct this injustice, and will be the first of 26 lawsuits we’re filing against state officials that used the secretive and faulty Kobach purge lists.
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Greg Palast (Rolling Stone, Guardian, BBC) is the author of The New York Times bestsellers, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits and the book and documentary,
The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
His latest film is Vigilante: Georgia's Vote Suppression Hitman
Or support us by shopping with Amazon Smile. AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your purchases to the Sustainable Markets Foundation which automatically goes to the benefit of The Palast Investigative Fund and you get a tax-deduction! More info .