Outrage on social media prompted Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp to delete a controversial video from his office’s website, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Thursday.
The video purportes to educate voters on Georgia’s advance voting procedures. Instead, the video created a furor because it features a Black child actor who failed to bring the acceptable government-issued voter ID to cast a ballot. Although the video was first posted in 2016, it remained on the site until Thursday.
Kemp, who’s overseeing the state’s election system while also running for governor against a Black opponent, has been accused of using multiple schemes to suppress the Black vote. The video was viewed as part of his ongoing efforts.
Black Georgia voters searching the secretary of state’s website for information on advance voting will find a blatant message apparently intended to discourage them from voting.
The message comes as a part of Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s voter suppression package that is meant to help him and other Republicans win elections. He’s competing against Stacey Abrams who could become the nation’s Black woman governor.
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The video, one of several voter information films on the official state site, explains how advance voting works in Georgia, using children to illustrate the process of in-person voting prior to Election Day.
In the opening scene, a white kid walks into the election station and is directed to a clerk who takes a look at his government-issued ID card and allows him to cast a ballot.
Moments later, a Black girl walks up to the clerk but searches frantically in her pocketbook for an ID card. She’s given a provisional ballot. The narrator later warns that provisional ballot voters, like the little Black girl, have three days after Election Day to present an acceptable ID or else their vote won’t count.
Georgia is one of the 34 states, mostly dominated by GOP lawmakers, which require voters to show some form of government-issued identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Kemp, who’s in a tight race against Abrams, discourages Black people from casting a ballot by fueling the view among many African-Americans that the voting system is rigged with obstacles against them, so there’s no point in even bothering to cast a ballot.
And Georgia’s strict voter ID law is part of Kemp’s voter suppression arsenal that targets Black people. The law disproportionately affects poor people and voters of color. Kemp has also overseen an attempt to block 53,000 voter registration applications—about 70 percent of whom were African-Americans.
Added to that, Georgia creates logistical barriers to suppress turnout in rural Black communities. Election officials make every effort to limit the number of polling stations and place them far away from larger population centers where transportation is a problem. Fortunately, voting rights advocates helped to thwart one of the latest attempts in August.