A Democrat who wants to become the first black woman governor in the country and a Republican candidate who is also responsible for overseeing the elections. In Georgia, the fight for governorship is fierce and arouses interest far beyond the borders of the state.
“It’s like the wolf guarding the sheep.” Marsha Appling-Nunez, an Atlanta resident, wonders how it is possible for a governor candidate to be responsible for the proper functioning of the electoral process.
This is indeed the case in Georgia, where the aspiring governor is Secretary of State Brian Kemp. The politician is well known for having implemented and enforced very strict election rules.
Since 2012, the names of more than 1 million people have been removed from the state’s list of electors. In some cases, the elector in question had died or moved, but in others he simply did not vote in recent polls.
This year, the names of 53,000 voters, including a large proportion of African Americans, have been placed on a waiting list. Further checks on their name or address should be conducted before allowing them to vote.
Marsha Appling-Nunez, who was part of this list, made more than 40 attempts before successfully registering. In the government register, her name contained a typo that she can not explain.
I felt as if my right to vote had been removed.
In the Democratic camp, we denounce the violation of the right to vote of some voters, mainly from minority groups.
But it is among these voters that the Democrat Stacey Abrams counts to become governor of Georgia, a traditionally republican state, but whose demography is changing rapidly.
A few years ago, this elected state legislator even founded the New Georgia Project, an organization that managed to register 300,000 new voters on state lists.
According to the group’s current director, Nse Ufot, the Republican candidate is in flagrant conflict of interest. She gives the example of a recording in which Brian Kemp recognized the electoral challenges facing his party.
He said that if everyone in Georgia voted, it would be difficult for the Republicans to retain power in the future.
Nse Ufot, director of New Georgia Project
As recently as Sunday, a few days before the elections, Kemp’s office announced that he had opened an investigation into his Democratic opponent’s campaign, citing “a failed attempt to hack the voter registration system.” Charges Rejected by Camp Abrams.
Republicans want to protect “the integrity of the system”
“There is no demographic factor,” believes Mike Royal, a Republican activist. According to him, the voters removed from the list simply do not respect the criteria established by the electoral law.
The Republican candidate’s entourage also ensures that Brian Kemp only enforces laws aimed at avoiding electoral fraud.
“Kemp is fighting for the integrity of our system and to ensure that only legal citizens can vote,” said Brian Mahoney, spokesman for the Republican campaign.
Although no case of massive fraud has been proven in the past, some supporters of the Republican candidate believe the risks are high.
There are people who vote two or three times and I think there are people who are not citizens and who vote. It happens.
Karen Barrett, Republican activist
This activist, like others she has met in recent days, does not believe that the dual role played by her candidate during the campaign is an issue.
More participation than in 2014
Sign that the fight is fierce, politicians and media have increased visits to Georgia in recent days, including the current President Donald Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama. Facilitator Oprah Winfrey, who supports Stacey Abrams, took advantage of her stint in the state to launch a call for voter turnout.
Voters seem very interested in this election.
In Georgia, more than two million voters cast their ballots as part of the advance poll, which wrapped up on Friday. This is more than in the last mid-term elections in 2014.
In both camps, it is said that the base is mobilized for the poll Tuesday.
“There are three keys: participation, participation and participation,” notes a Republican activist.