You know when things happen IRL that seem too vile to be real? Like, you see it and think, "Man, there's no way anyone can be that awful and evil, no way." And then you realize that this is real life, not a movie, and these people are doing bad things and getting away with it? That's basically what's happening in Georgia right now—election officials in Georgia removed 107,000 voters (opens in new tab) from their voter rolls just because they opted not to vote in prior elections. This comes after Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, indefinitely suspended (opens in new tab) 53,000 voter applications.
Brian Kemp, Georgia Secretary of State, in charge of deciding elections and voter registrations, just happens to be running for Governor against Stacey Abrams, the first African American woman nominated by a major party for Governor anywhere in America. Seriously. I'm not making this up.
Georgia officials, why are you acting brand new? It's almost like they don't think we can see this happening in front of our very eyes. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's probably trying to suppress your right to vote.
The worst part? A majority of these people will have no idea of what's happened to them until they make their way to the polls and are in for a fun (like how a root canal is fun) surprise on November 6. Make sure you check your voter registration.
How is this legal, you ask? Georgia has a "use it or lose it law," according to an APM Reports analysis, which is a process for removing people from voter rolls if they don't vote, respond to a notice, or make contact with election officials over a three-year period. After those three years, those who don't vote or make contact can be purged from the voter rolls in two elections. This is Georgia state law, and is becoming more common in states with Republican leaders, with nine having enacted the same laws or ones similar.
Abrams and other voting rights groups have asserted that these types of laws and Kemp himself are systematically suppressing the right to vote for black and minority voters to influence the election in Kemp's favor. Of course, Kemp denies this vehemently, while covering up a shirt that says "I :heart: Voter Suppression." He was already implicated in an attempt to close seven of nine polling locations (opens in new tab) a majority-black rural county, and since 2012, Kemp's office has "cancelled" (read: suppressed) over 1.4 million voter registrations, and nearly 670,000 registrations in 2017 alone got the kibosh.
Kemp campaign spokesman Ryan Mahoney told AP in a statement that "it has never been easier to vote in our state". Uh, sure. "Exact Match (opens in new tab)" voting laws like the ones in place in Georgia that require your name and address match what is on your voter registration already disproportionally impact people of color and people of low-incomes. They're claim they're trying to fight voter fraud (opens in new tab), something that rarely occurs except in the minds of Republicans looking for someone to blame for their loss.
This is the kind of election where 53,000 votes can actually have a true impact. This is the kind of election where it's too close to call, and we're three weeks away from Election Day. This is the kind of election where every vote counts.
Wherever you fall on your feelings on voter suppression and voter fraud, I only have one piece of advice: Vote. Seriously. Now more than ever, there's no tangible excuse for not voting. Just get out there and vote.
From explainers to essays, cheat sheets to candidate analysis, we're breaking down exactly what you need to know about this year's midterms. Visit Marie Claire's Midterms Guide (opens in new tab)for more.
Amanda Mitchell is a writer and podcaster with bylines at Marie Claire, OprahMag, Allure, Byrdie, Stylecaster, Bon Appetit, and more. Her work exists at the apex of beauty, pop culture, and absurdity. A human Funfetti cake, she watches too much television, and her favorite season is awards season. You can read more of her work at amandaelizabethmitchell.com or follow her on Instagram and Twitter @lochnessmanda.
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