Congressman David Scott & Georgia Democratic Delegation Denounce "Exact Match" Voter Suppression Efforts, Urge DOJ to Protect Voting Rights for 53,000 Georgians
Washington, October 12, 2018
Today Congressman David Scott (GA-13) joined Georgia Democratic Representatives John Lewis, Sanford Bishop and Hank Johnson to deliver a strong letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions condemning Georgia’s “Exact Match” law and urging him to immediately enforce voting rights laws and protect the constitutional right to vote for 53,000 Georgians whose registrations have been placed on hold.
"This blatant voter suppression cannot stand,” said Congressman Scott. “Georgia is better than this. Georgians of all stripes should stand up and reject this wholeheartedly. The eyes of the world are on Georgia because of this potentially historic election. And we cannot allow such naked discrimination. Furthermore we need to investigate the notion of running for governor and controlling an election at the same time. No one running for elected office should get to hand pick who is allowed to vote. It's fundamentally un-American."
The full text of the letter follows. A pdf version can be found here:
October 11, 2018
The Honorable Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III
Dear Mr. Attorney General,
We write to request that you immediately use the remaining authority outlined in the Voting Rights Act to ensure that Georgian citizens –especially minority voters – are able to exercise their constitutional right to cast a ballot and for that vote to count on Election Day 2018.
As you know, there are recent reports that the Secretary of State’s implementation of Georgia’s “exact-match” law is blocking at least 53,000 registered voters from being certified to cast their ballot in a few weeks. According to multiple press reports, 70 percent of the registrants on hold are people of color even though minorities constitute only 32 percent of Georgia’s total population. Last year, Georgia removed nearly 670,000 voter registrations; this is more than the total population in states like Vermont and Wyoming.
We also received reports that additional voters experienced system delays and challenges when they attempted to register to vote online earlier this week. Despite multiple warnings by independent and Federal authorities regarding the security, quality, and vulnerability of Georgia’s online voter registration system, the current Secretary of State refuses to adopt contingency plans to safeguard and ensure Georgian citizens’ ballots.
Finally, we would be remiss if we failed to highlight the alarming conflict of interest in Georgia’s election management. Regardless of party, region, capacity, or ideology, Secretaries of State should recuse themselves from administering any election in which they are a candidate. This reinforces a key intent guiding Congress’ designing the Voting Rights Act as a proactive law; the statute provides the tools, guidance, and mandate for the Department of Justice to protect citizens’ voting rights before those who seek to dilute and deter minority voter participation reap the rewards.
For these reasons, we believe that the Department of Justice must immediately fulfill its historic, neutral role to protect the integrity and security of our home state’s elections. The time is now for your office and staff to uphold its promises and pledges to champion, protect, and preserve voting rights. We appreciate your prompt attention to this grave matter and look forward to your response.
Members of Congress