Considered Litmus test for the President, the mid-term elections are to be held in US this 6th of November, 2018.
This year’s mid-terms, as expected are not aloof of the usual controversy. As the mid-term elections rapidly approach, there has been a rash of voter identification conflicts in states across the country.
Georgia’s Secretary of State and Chief Election Officer Brian Kemp, a Republican who is running for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams, has put on hold more than 53,000 voters so far, given mismatches in the names in their voting records and other sources of identification such as driver’s licenses and social security cards under the “exact match” law passed last year. The exact match law requires voter’s name on the Government IDs to precisely match that on the Voter List in order for them to be eligible for casting their votes.
Kemp has defended his decision, saying he was just following the law. But Abrams and Democrats have argued there is a hidden agenda in the decision because the removals and suspended voter applications disproportionately affected minority voters. It is to be noted that the African-Americans make up 32% of Georgia’s population out of which more than 70% now have their votes blocked.
The state had also planned to close most polling centres in the largely black county, which after an appeal from both the candidates has been dropped, much to Abrams’ relief, whose potential voters would have been forced to travel over a mile to cast their votes else.
Voting rights advocacy groups have criticized Kemp for using his office to suppress voters in an attempt to influence the mid-term election result.
The secretary of state has remarked that he only is executing his designated job. Voter suppression is an issue all over the country. But in Georgia, where the fight is neck to neck, the authorities are being accused of mal-practises. Its being said that laws across the States are being passed to make it harder and not easier to vote. Since, Donald Trump assumed office, nine states with Republic legislatures have passed laws restricting the vote.
During an interview, when questioned on allegations of abuse of position, Kemp countered to accuse Abrams of supporting immigrants without legal status to vote.
“… she wants illegals to vote in Georgia … while she was campaigning with Elizabeth Warren she actually said this,” Kemp said.
The party which wins this state will not only increase its presence in the two chambers of Congress but will also acquire oversight power of President Trump and his administration. Definitely, if assumed power the Democrats will be more active and investigate far more aggressively in the Trump government than Republicans have been in the past years.
Recently, Kemp refused to step down as the Chief Election Officer on calls from Georgia Democrats, which further aired the dirty politics claim from opponents.
Discrimination based on races though not new, has taken on an entirely new face in the current regime with the government machinery being misused for favouring one party and putting other at a disadvantage.
Recently, around 40 black senior citizens were asked to leave a bus that was taking them to the polls in Jefferson County, GA., the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The bus was owned by ‘Black Votes Matter’, a non-partisan group that visited a senior centre in Louisville, Ga., to encourage people to vote.
In light of such incidents, a survey conducted by NBC reflected that around 64% of Americans accept that racism is still a major problem in America.
It will now be quite interesting to see what further developments take place and also the steps election board of the Georgia state takes to ensure free and fair elections.