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Georgia midterm elections: Emergency lawsuit filed to stop Brian Kemp presiding over governor race against Stacey Abrams

Voters report problems voting all over state 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Wednesday 07 November 2018 01:30 GMT
Republican governor candidate Brian Kemp struggles with voting machine

A voter advocacy group filed an emergency lawsuit just hours before polls closed in Georgia to keep Republican candidate and current secretary of state from presiding over his race against Democrat Stacey Abrams.

Ms Abrams is hoping to make history by becoming the first African American, female governor in the US, all while the race has been plagued by perceived voter suppression.

Protect Democracy, the group who filed the suit, said in a statement Mr Kemp’ maintaining his government position while running “violates a basic notion of fairness”.

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It added: "a man should not be a judge in his own matter — and has had predictable results: in recent days Defendant Kemp has used the official powers of his office to interfere in the election to benefit himself and his political party and disadvantage his opponents".

In the court document, Project Democracy said in the court filing Mr Kemp staying in office "poses a risk of bias under the best circumstances".

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The group has cited Mr Kemp's accusation against Democrats that they hacked the electoral system in the state after the state party reported a possible cybersecurity breach to Mr Kemp's government office.

The controversy is nothing new for this race.

Just days before ballots were cast, federal judges issued two rulings against the secretary of state's efforts to not count certain votes.

In one ruling, approximately 3,600 new US citizens had asked for their ballots to be counted. The state's 159 separate county boards of elections use motor vehicle records to determine voter eligibility, but the records had not been updated with these voter's new citizenship status.

It resulted in their voter registrations to initially be rejected. The judge ruled these new Americans should be allowed to vote if they provide a poll worker proof of their citizenship.

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The other ruling was to have more than 50,000 absentee ballots, filed by voters who are travelling or stationed aboard during Election Day or early voting days, be counted after being rejected originally.

The Gwinnett County board of elections rejected the applications based on the state's "exact match" policy enacted by Mr Kemp in his official capacity.

The county has one of the fastest growing minority populations in the state as well, prompting several critics to cry foul about "blatant" voter suppression as Dr Carol Anderson, professor and author of One Person, No Vote, told The Independent.

Mr Kemp's campaign has not yet commented on the lawsuit.

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