Late yesterday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr – both Republicans – scheduled a press conference about the state’s election laws to be held today during President Biden’s speech about voting rights.
Statement of Common Cause Georgia Executive Director Aunna Dennis
So now we have dueling media events – and a unique opportunity to showcase two very different approaches to our ‘government by the people.’
We hope that, during today’s press conference, the media will ask Governor Kemp some pointed questions about his 2017 purge of more than a half-million Georgians from the voter rolls, when he was Secretary of State. A media investigation estimated that more than 100,000 of those people would have been eligible to vote in the 2018 election, if they had not been administratively removed from the rolls.
We hope the media will ask why Kemp refused to release public records regarding his use of the infamous “Interstate Crosscheck” system created by Kris Kobach during his voter purges.
Clearly there is an effort to limit the people who are allowed to participate in our ‘government by the people.’ Just before the Senate runoffs, the Georgia Republican Party coordinated with a “non-profit” group to try to purge hundreds of thousands of Georgians from the voter rolls – targeting voters in communities of color. This has been happening all over the country, and we hope the media will ask Kemp why.
We hope that during today’s press conference, the media will ask Attorney General Carr how it happened that the Republican Attorneys General Association became involved in the ‘will be wild!’ Trump rally on January 6th that became the insurrection at the Capitol. While Carr was chair of the group, its 501(c)(4) arm helped organize that event, and even sent robocalls urging people to attend. Attorneys General are supposed to uphold the rule of law – not recruit people to ‘march to the Capitol building’ while Congress is counting electoral college votes. We hope that someone will ask how that happened – remembering that organizations follow their leaders, and there’s a limit to how much blame should be shoveled onto staff.
We hope that during today’s press conference, someone will ask why Georgia’s Black voters have to wait in line for hours to cast ballots.
We hope that someone will ask why Republicans are targeting the availability of ballot drop-boxes, which have been used primarily in Democratic-leaning counties and which many voters of color trust more than the Post Office to return their ballots.
We hope that someone will ask why the head of Heritage Action bragged about writing anti-voter bills across the country – including here in Georgia. And also, that someone will ask exactly what Heritage Action bought for its million-dollar investment, including $600,000 in ad buys, while the Legislature was considering that bill.
We hope that someone will ask Kemp why he held his photo-op, signing Georgia’s anti-voter law, in front of a painting of a slave plantation.
Now that Kemp and Carr have given us competing press opportunities, we invite the media to showcase the differences in basic philosophy when it comes to our government ‘by the people.’
There have been 34 anti-voter laws passed by Republican state legislatures since the 2020 election – and more are being proposed across the country, in this year’s legislative sessions. Federal pro-voter legislation continues to be blocked by Senate Republicans – including four times last year – using an arcane rule that has primarily been used to block civil rights laws. Now it’s being used to block laws that would ensure access to the ballot box for all voters, regardless of color, background or zip code.
Today, the media has the opportunity to focus on that basic difference in philosophy. We hope that these competing events can become a springboard for that conversation.