Stacey Abrams; Brian Kemp (AP/Photo Montage by Salon)

NAACP: Georgia votes for Democrat Stacey Abrams are being changed to Republican Brian Kemp

Georgia’s NAACP claims that votes intended for Democrat Stacey Abrams are being changed to Republican Brian Kemp


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Matthew Rozsa
October 24, 2018 1:42pm (UTC)

The Georgia NAACP is filing a complaint claiming that votes for Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams in that state's race for governor have been changed to Republican candidate Brian Kemp.

The NAACP's state conference electronically filed complaints with the Georgia Secretary of State's office (which is held by Kemp himself) claiming that votes cast for Abrams in Bartow and Dodge counties were initially registered to Kemp, according to USA Today. As of Tuesday, the Georgia NAACP also had plans to file additional complaints in Henry and Cobb counties, likewise claiming that votes intended for Abrams had initially been changed to Kemp. Eight voters in total are alleging that they noticed their votes had been changed.

"We’ve experienced this before. They ended up taking these old dilapidated machines out of service. The ones giving the problems. They should have been replaced about 10 years ago," Phyllis Blake, president of the Georgia NAACP, told USA Today. The paper included this troubling story from a Georgia voter named Pamela Grimes:

Grimes said she went to a polling site in Bartow County Thursday and tried to select Abrams, but the machine marked the box for Kemp. Grimes said she tried several times to clear the selection before it allowed her to vote for Abrams.

“I was not going to leave until everything was the way I wanted it,’’ recalled Grimes, adding she also paid close attention to other selections. “If I had not been focused, my vote would have went for him.”

Grimes said she has since warned other voters. “I’ve been telling people when you vote to pay attention,’’ she said.

As Salon reported earlier this month, Georgia has experienced considerable controversy for purging voters from its rolls. Journalist Greg Palast learned that 1 in 10 Georgia voters were removed from the rolls at some point in 2017, telling Salon that "I started this investigation for Al Jazeera and Rolling Stone in 2014. And Kemp has been stonewalling my requests for his purge lists and the reasons for them. And I finally got the list — not all the material we've asked for, and I should say that we sent a 90-day notice of a federal lawsuit if he didn't provide these — and within hours of the deadline we got the list of the purged voters."

He added that under Kemp the Georgia State Department "has identified people as having moved out of state, moved out of the congressional district, they should either be removed or forced to reregister. In fact, they haven't the state, they haven't left the congressional district. We found one woman who moved from one side of her building to the other."

Abrams drew attention to accusations that Kemp has made it more difficult for nonwhites to vote during her debate with Kemp on Tuesday night, according to The New York Times. "Under Secretary Kemp, more people have lost the right to vote in the state of Georgia. They’ve been purged, they’ve been suppressed and they’ve been scared," Abrams said during the debate.


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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