October 30, 2020
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp May Not Be Able To Vote As He Enters Quarantine After Coronavirus Contact

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp may not be able to cast a ballot this election after he was forced to enter quarantine after having been in close contact with a Republican congressman who tested positive for coronavirus.

As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, Kemp was in contact with Rep. Drew Ferguson, who has since tested positive for the virus. The report noted that Kemp tested negative, but will be required to enter quarantine because of the potential for contracting the virus.

As The New York Times noted, Kemp has drawn criticism for his move to lift coronavirus restrictions in April, a time when many states still had stringent measures in place to slow the spread. He appeared this week at a "Make America Great Again" rally in Manchester, Georgia, where Ferguson also spoke. It was not confirmed whether this was the contact that sent Kemp into isolation.

Photos from the event showed dozens of attendees in close proximity at the indoor venue, many of them not wearing masks. Public health experts have warned that such events are dangerous, as the virus spreads more easily in indoor settings and when people do not maintain at least six feet of distance.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution added that Kemp had requested an absentee ballot for Tuesday's voting, but it will likely not arrive to him before polls close on Tuesday. Under Georgia law, all absentee ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day in order to count. Kemp will also be unable to vote in person on Tuesday, as it would violate the CDC's coronavirus guidelines calling for people to stay in their homes and away from others for 14 days after contact with an infected person.

Brian Kemp speaks at an event.
Getty Images | Elijah Nouvelage

The report noted that voters have the option of requesting ballots through Friday, and while Kemp's request came in under the deadline, state officials said there is likely not enough time to have it turned back in.

"The post office cannot guarantee delivery in this short timespan," Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said. "Our office has given the public since May to request an absentee vote. The state has three weeks of early voting, giving a voter ample opportunity to vote in various different ways."

Georgia appears to be headed for a tight race, with President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden deadlocked in a state that has long been a Republican stronghold. Kemp, who took office in 2018 after a narrow victory, is not on the ballot this year.