Justice

Georgia Secretary Of State Laments That Democrats Are Registering Minority Voters

CREDIT: Office of the Secretary of State

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R)

A day after the Senior Deputy Whip for the Georgia Senate Republicans vowed to block early voting dates and locations that he felt would attract African American voters, a progressive group released audio on Wednesday of Georgia’s Secretary of State warning fellow Republicans that Democrats might win because they are registering minority voters.

The audio, posted on YouTube by Better Georgia, features a man identified as Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp telling fellow Republicans at a July 12, 2014 event in Gwinnett County:

In closing I just wanted to tell you real quick, after we get through this runoff, you know the Democrats are working hard, and all these stories about them, you know, registering all these minority voters that are out there and others that are sitting on the sidelines, if they can do that, they can win these elections in November. But we’ve got to do the exact same thing. I would encourage all of you, if you have an Android or an Apple device, to download that app, and maybe your goal is to register one new Republican voter.

Listen to the audio:

The admissions by both Kemp and Senator Fran Millar that minority voters are almost certainly going to vote against the GOP in November contradicts the recent spin by the national party. Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus announced last year that his party would spend millions to reach out to minority groups. The RNC’s own autopsy report on the party’s 2012 election defeats found that many minorities “think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country,” (wrongly, the report argued). Latinos and African Americans voted overwhelmingly for Democrats in 2012, citing concerns about salary, wages, affordable healthcare, and immigration.

On Tuesday, Kemp launched a “voter fraud” investigation into a voter registration effort he suspects may have “forged voter registration applications, forged signatures on releases, and applications with false or inaccurate information.” Accusations of voter fraud have been a frequent tool of Republican secretaries of state.

A year ago, Kemp warned that allowing citizens to register to vote on Election Day would undermine their “individual freedoms.” In 2012, he spearheaded an error-riddled effort to purge voters from the rolls just months before the November elections.

Better Georgia executive director Bryan Long said in a statement that Kemp’s and Millar’s comments suggest the investigation is aimed at voter suppression. “The right to vote is sacred, and we should all want to encourage people to vote instead of making it more difficult,” he wrote, adding that, “GOP candidates in Georgia know they cannot win if the electorate reflects the increasing diversity of our state, so Sec. Kemp is using the power of his office to restrict minority voting access. The Justice Department should investigate.

A spokesman for Kemp did not immediately respond to a ThinkProgress inquiry about the remarks.