07:53 GMT31 March 2020
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    With the 2018 US midterm election just a few weeks away, news of some 53,000 voter registrations being placed on hold in Georgia has sounded off the alarm on voter suppression.

    On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that thousands of voter registrations had been placed on hold under the state's "exact match" verification policy, which states that a resident's voter application must contain an exact replica of information already filed with both the Social Security Administration and Georgia's Department of Driver Services.

    Now, should the application have any hiccups, it's immediately flagged and tossed into the "on hold" bin. Applications set aside ahead of Georgia elections belonged to voters of mostly minority groups in The Peach State, the majority of them being from African-American applicants. Less than 10 percent of the held applications were from white voters.

    Brian Kemp, who is currently Georgia's Republican candidate for governor in the upcoming election, is in charge of voter registrations in the state. Kemp used the "exact match" voter system from 2013 to 2016 before he was forced to stop in 2017 as part of a settlement from a 2016 lawsuit. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the policy was later signed into law in April of 2017, with a 26-month time period for voters verify any suspect details.

    ​Anoa Changa, lawyer and host of "The Way with Anoa," told Radio Sputnik's By Any Means Necessary on Friday that nobody should be surprised about the situation, especially when they sift through Kemp's past.

    "It's astonishing what's happening right now, but it's not surprising to see this," Changa told host Eugene Puryear. "And we know that Democrats don't have clean hands… but at the same time, overwhelmingly when we're looking at these issues of voter IDs, election fraud and things of that nature, we're looking at Republicans who are trying to stop voters from being able to move them out of office."

    The 2016 lawsuit that Kemp ultimately settled in February 2017 stemmed from Kemp's office cancelling nearly 35,000 voter applications between 2013 and 2015, according to the Washington Post. Of those applications, 76 percent were filed by minorities.

    "People are fed up and tired," Changa stressed.

    On Thursday, the Georgia NAACP chapter and other civil rights groups filed a joint lawsuit against Kemp, alleging that the "exact match" policy "disproportionately and negatively impacts the ability of voting-eligible African-American, Latino and Asian-American applicants to register to vote."

    ​Kemp's Democratic opponent, former state Rep. Stacey Abrams, joined in on the talks this week, stating that the Republican was using the voter policy to tilt the Georgia election, since it affects minority voters.

    Kemp, for his part, has rejected the claims, stating on Twitter earlier this week that Abrams "manufactured a ‘crisis' to fire up her supporters and fundraise from left-wing radicals throughout the country."

    According to AJC, residents wanting to cast their ballots in the midterm election will still have the chance, so long as they arrive with a government-issued photo ID that "substantially" matches their voter applications.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Midterm Elections, Stacey Abrams, Brian Kemp, Georgia
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