Jimmy Carter made a personal plea to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp to leave office, as allegations of voter suppression continue to plague the gubernatorial candidate. According to NPR, the former president urged the Republican to remove himself from his current position, which oversees voter registrations, creating a serious potential for conflict of interest as Kemp runs for office against Stacey Abrams.
Carter made his appeal through a letter to the Georgia politician last Monday, speaking from his decades of experience assisting in elections abroad. Kemp has been under fire in recent weeks for alleged voter suppression after it was discovered that thousands of Georgia voters, primarily minorities, were purged from voter rolls or had their registrations frozen.
The former president said that Kemp’s resignation is essential for restoring voter confidence in the electoral process.
“In Georgia’s upcoming gubernatorial election, popular confidence is threatened not only by the undeniable racial discrimination of the past and the serious questions that the federal courts have raised about the security of Georgia’s voting machines, but also because you are now overseeing the election in which you are a candidate,” Carter wrote.
Although Carter didn’t specifically address the allegations against Kemp, he did say that he believes that unbiased support is essential for any fair election.
“One of the key requirements for a fair and trusted process is that there be nonbiased supervision of the electoral process,” Carter wrote.
He urged Kemp “to step aside and hand over to a neutral authority the responsibility of overseeing the governor’s election.”
— Brian Kemp (@BrianKempGA) October 25, 2018
Kemp has received support from Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump, but Carter joins a larger group of individuals calling for Kemp to resign amidst the allegations.
The office of Secretary of State oversees elections in Georgia. In his position, Kemp is in charge of voter registration. Voting rights advocates say that Kemp has used his power to suppress voters. Kemp has frozen 53,000 voter applications under an “exact match” standard in the state, 70 percent of which belong to black voters in the state.
There have also been 1.5 million voters reportedly purged from the rolls under Kemp’s supervision between the 2012 and 2016 elections. 107,000 voters were removed last year under a controversial “use it or lose it” policy that tosses out registrations belonging to people who haven’t voted in a set amount of time.
Kemp has fueled the fire with comments in which he laments the increase in voter turnout this year.