On September 9th, the Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp accused the New Georgia Project, which was having great success registering minority voters, of voter fraud. The SoS office served them with an intrusive subpoena that disrupted the last weeks of their voter registration efforts, claiming that county election officials had filed multiple complaints of voter fraud, even though the SoS could only identify 25 fraudulent applications out of 85,000.
As a justification, Kemp claimed that six different county officials contacted him to complain about voter fraud. He insinuated that the complaints were numerous. But the records of the Secretary of State's Office indicate that is a lie.
In his FAQ on his Web site, Kemp claimed that "Each and every complaint regarding The New Georgia Project originated at the county level. At no time did the Investigations Division within the Office of the Secretary of State seek out any information without the specific request of a county."
However, when asked to actually produce the records of these complaints, the SoS Office attempted to hide them, saying that ALL complaints about voter registration fraud received by their Office were exempt from disclosure as part of a pending investigation.
When I appealed, pointing out that incident reports are NOT exempt from disclosure as public records under Georgia law, they finally released the complaints.
There were 6 complaints before September 9th (one additional one that was not filed until after the SoS filed their subpoena).
Two were complaints from people who showed up at the polls for the primary and found themselves not registered.
One was a complaint that Pike county had erroneously districted voters.
There was one complaint about a single individual who tried to register as part of an ID theft scheme, and one stated there had been some felons that voted in the past elections (nothing to do with voter registration drives).
There was one, single complaint that appeared to address the New Georgia Project, from the Butts County Election Director received way back on May 13th.
"Complainant reported that individuals were canvassing voters and telling voters they were required to reregister to vote. Wanted people and parolees were allegedly participating in the registration drive."
That's it. Despite the bald-faced claims of the Secretary of State, there was NOT a overwhelming number of complaints from across the state. There was one. And for that, the Secretary of State swung into action over four months later, right as this group was finishing up their registration efforts, and brought all of his power to bear to halt an effort to register voters in the state.
UPDATE: Stacey Abrams, Georgia House Minority Leader, was on Rachel Maddow last night talking about the Secretary of State's investigation of the New Georgia Project. They didn't discuss this recent discovery of Kemp's dishonesty.
According to Abrams, close to half of the voters that they registered (40,000 people) are not appearing in the voter rolls, even in cases where the registration forms were submitted months ago. The Secretary of State's office is claiming they did not halt the processing of these registration and they do not know why these new voters are not turning up on voter rolls.