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The Purge

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Uh-huh. Patricia Murphy, I'm writing for the Daily Beast. I'm in Atlanta, Georgia and I've been reporting on the Georgia governor's race. And that's a pretty good one. Right. It looks like it's going to be exciting historic either way. So it's a story because Stacey Abrams who is the democratic nominee is the first woman of color to be a nominee for a statewide election. Like the governor's race in Georgia. The race itself is also a lot closer than many governors races. That we've seen in recent years. The Republican party has really dominated statewide elections since two thousand two and this is really the closest governor's race or statewide election that we've seen and sometime told me bit more about Stacey Abrams, her background or policies. All that. Stacey Abrams was minority leader in the Georgia state house. The highest ranking African American official in the state, she's a well-known quantity in the state of Georgia and has chosen in this race to diverge from past democratic nominees for governor most of the times when you see somebody running statewide and Georgia especially for the governor's office. It's sort of a battle between two centrists, and she's a very outspoken progressive by electing progressive in twenty eighteen we can prevent another decade of gerrymandering expand, Medicaid decriminalize, poverty and protect voting rights. And that's just the beginning. She's really just no kidding progressive. I would say and so that's different for the state as well. Tell me about the guy standing in the other corner Brian Kemp, so Brian Kemp is a conservative Republican. He has been the secretary of state since two thousand ten elected in two thousand ten rather during the course of the Republican nominating process. Cam came blazing out of the gates with a television ad that most of your listeners probably seen. It was him. Polishing his rifle next to a teenage boy, and he was joking with him about dating his daughter. I'm brian. Jake things if you date one of my daughters respect. A healthy appreciation for the second amendment, sir. And so the image of a nominee and a gun sort of set the tone for the Brian count campaign. The Lieutenant governor of Georgia was expected to be the nominee and Cam came kind of out of nowhere with the support of Donald Trump. Suddenly a race that is typically between to SunTrust. We have an extremely conservative Republican and a very progressive Democrats battling out in a state that is kind of seen as trending more purple. So it'll be a fascinating test case this year, and then for twenty twenty as well, it sounds like these two candidates present a really clear choice for Georgia voters. And that there isn't even that much overlap on their policy positions is there one policy that really synthesizes both of their platforms. You don't have to look far the issue of voting rights is the issue that Kim has been working on as Georgia's secretary of state. Stacey Abrams has run a nonprofit to register new Georgia voters. In the state for many years. This has been the issue for both of these two candidates for the last eight to ten years at least, and it has really become a flash point in the race itself. Look no further than voting rights and you'll see the DNA of each of these candidates. What is Brian Kemp done in terms of voting rights since he's been secretary of state? So he has done a lot to make it easier to register to vote online. And a lot of cases he created online voter registration, which has been very helpful to younger voters in the state and anybody with access to computer, however, the most sort of visible things that he's done as secretary of state has been a purge of the voter rolls in the name of voter, integrity and integrity of the ballot. A hard work in Jordan should decide who their governor is not people here illegally light, my Ponant won't Atlanta's very transient city. It's not unusual to have a lot of people coming and going and moving out of the state. So he has said it's a necessary thing to do to clean up the voter rolls to make sure that there aren't people on the roles shouldn't be. But there's a lot of concern among minority rights groups that if you're purging more than a million people from the rolls, which she has done that you're going to invariably purge people who are registered voters and legal voters. And is there any evidence of that's? Happening in Georgia. There has already been some evidence. A lot of local reporting that people have just check the registration online, and they're not on there. And they don't know why. And because they've been voting they haven't changed their name nothing really is different. And why am I not able to vote anymore? What has gotten a lot of attention recently has been the state's exact match law. What's that? That was a law that was passed in two thousand seventeen by the Georgia legislature and really championed by Brian camp. And it says that when you registered a vote or if during these voter purges, if you're voter registration does not match exactly your existing government documents. Now, you're on a pending voter lists. And you need to do more to prove to the secretary of state's office that you are who you say, you are basically your registration is put on hold, and you may not be able to vote. We're not talking about major details. Like your address we're talking about simple misspellings. A rogue hyphen a nickname on one form and your full name on another. And there was an AP. Report that about fifty three thousand voters on that list. And of that eighty percent of those or people of color that obviously raised a lot of red flags for civil rights groups in the states I've spoken with voters who are on that pending list. And they don't know exactly what to do to get themselves off the pending list. And so going into election day. There's concern there's not enough time to get these people's pending status taken care of and even in that case, the people on the list don't know either what they're supposed to do. Are. They don't know. What's wrong? They've called different state offices, and they're not getting the response to sort of get this resolved. So that's the concern. That's going on the state right now because Brian Kamm champion that legislation and stay safe rooms opposed that legislation. It's obviously become a big flash point in the race itself. Where exactly this idea for an exact match standard? Come from is that homegrown in Georgia in two thousand thirteen the supreme court struck down a portion of the Voting Rights Act. Argument I smiling and case twelve ninety six Shelby county versus holder that required states like Georgia ticket preapproval to make any changes having to do with access to voting any racial discrimination in voting is too much. But our country has changed in the past fifty years. Once the supreme court struck down that language. Georgia was free to go ahead and make changes to the code. This decision represents a serious setback for voting rights and has the potential to negatively affect millions of Americans across the country. And so the secretary of state's office along with the Republican legislature put the exact match language into the code and passed it in two thousand seventeen so that's where it came from. So what exactly will exact match mean for voters on November sixth? Anybody who's voter registration document, you know, that you fill out when you're getting a new driver's license, or if you've actually filled out voter registration -plication if the name on that document does not match existing state documents in your name than those have been put on a pending list. Asian Americans if their last name is listed first or I lifted last could also point to women who are either married or divorced and choose to change their name. I can give you an example of a young woman. I spoke with she's a new citizen. She was sworn in as US citizen earlier this year when she checked the secretary of state's office to see if she was registered was flagged as pending. She thinks that's because she is Latina and she on previous government documents had listed her mother's name as a part of her last name on her voter registration. She listed as her middle name. She thinks that's why it's been flagged. Although she doesn't know. So does that suggest it's mostly women and minorities that this is gonna affect yes. And the report sort of back that up eighty percent of the names on the pending list are people of color. They didn't break it down by gender. But there's good reason to think that women who changed their names in that period. Also would probably be people who are flagged. And so the UP report backed up what Democrats were worried about in the first place was that even though the law applies to everybody it has ended up applying differently to groups of people with names that are not traditional western male names. Sounds like me, and my my super hard dispel last name might have a hard time voting in Georgia right now. What's the point of this? What's the argument being made for doing this? The argument being made for doing it by Brian Kemp himself as that it's about voter integrity that there should be no problem. If you're just using your name, you should match up with who you are in the state database anyone who meets the requirements on the pending list. All they have to do is do the same thing that you're not home have to go to your polling location show. Your government, I d and you can vote it doesn't really allow for the fact that the state database could be wrong, or that your names are being transposed or you've changed your name. And somehow it's just not getting matched up. Brian. Kemp is both secretary of state and the Republican nominee for governor both a candidate and the person who's going to certify the ballots that has been raised to me as a real concern among voters to say, I just don't know that the standard is being applied fairly, nor that the votes will be counted fairly. And that's when you get into just a huge huge problem in a state where people are losing. Confidence that their votes are going to be counted that sounds bananas just to be clear here. The candidate for governor will have to certify the election if his opposition comes out with more votes and at the same time he is promoting legislation that is making it harder for people to vote. Yes. He says he's making it harder for illegal voters vote. Is there a history of problem with illegal voting Georgia? There's not a significant history of a problem with illegal voting, Georgia. I think this is a national talking point in a push for tighter access to the polls. There's really very little independent reporting that there's any kind of massive voter fraud or any significant voter fraud or any insignificant voter fraud happening. How does Abrahams feel about her fate as possible governor of Georgia being in the hands of her opponent? She's called on him to resign his position. She says it frequently almost every chance guess that. He should have resigned, quote, Brian. Kemp needs to resign. In his position. So that Georgia voters can have confidence that they're secretary of state competently and impartially oversee this election. There's also I think of very fine line that she needs to walk in not making Georgia voters feel like there's no point in voting that their vote will be counted. Anyway, so what's the point of going to the polls? And so when I have gone to report and visited with Abrahams volunteers volunteers for the Democratic Party. They're telling me that they talk to people on the phone to call and say have you registered to vote are you voting early? And they've heard from boaters to say, why should I vote? I don't even think my going to be counted. So it's an area. That's that can be really tricky for the Democrats, but it's kind of most important for the state of self to make sure that those votes are kind of properly it's also really important to know that Stacy rooms, and Brian Kemp have been on the opposite sides of the voting rights issue for years and years and years, he very recently. Has accused her of trying to register undocumented immigrants to vote. So my question is why are you encouraging people to break the law for you in the selection of bringing in outside agitators who says a responsible for making accusations about the nature of the exact match law. This is not their first rodeo, and it's not the first fight. They've had over this. This is a man who had someone arrested for helping her blind father cast a ballot. He raided the offices of organizations to stop them from registering voters that type of voter suppression feeds the narrative because whatever suppression isn't only about blocking the vote. It's also about creating an atmosphere of fear making people worried that their votes won't count. So they're really going back to where they've always been on this issue. For the Georgia governor's race to come down to a worry about voting rights for a law that he championed the same law that she opposed and voted against in many ways. This is where you know. The governor's race was always gonna end up. This disconnect between Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams on voter laws. Feels very much of the moment. Georgia twenty eighteen but it has everything to do with history. That's next on today explained. Maybe you've heard of a guy named Jad. He's like the godfather of podcasts. He's the only guy who's ever won a MacArthur genius award for making podcasts. He makes radio lab. He makes more perfect unnamed that show for him. You're welcome jed. And he's got a new podcast coming out. It's called on erased. You can subscribe and here the trailer. Now unraced as all about the history of conversion therapy in America. You might be familiar. There's a movie coming out about conversion therapy right now called boy erased over seven hundred thousand people have been subjected to conversion therapy in America. It's also known as praying the gay away. It's treatment to turn gay people straight in this new podcast. On raced people who've been through this process, tell their stories it's being made by Jad, which means you should listen under race here. The trailer now subscribe new episode start coming out. November second. How long has this kind of voter suppression voter purging, whatever it might be called been going on in Georgia. It sounds like this isn't the first incident. I mean to be very honest, and it's not flipping, sir. It really is as old as the state itself and the civil war and the Civil Rights Act and Jim crow laws. There's just it is. So deeply embedded in the state concerns about any access to the polls for African Americans versus white Jordan's. And if something that was at one time, very on the open and very deliberate. And then it's newly in the headlines nationally right now. But it's a story that has never ended in Georgia. How bad things before the Voting Rights Act? I mean my goodness. You know, there were pulled taxes. Nineteen sixty five people stood in on move line. People were asked. Ah jelly beans in a jar literacy tests, doctors teachers college professors came. Tests that are intimidation at the polls either overt or more subversive people jail beat them, and some even keel trying to register and vote turns out also used to count counties instead of people and state by elections. It was called the county unit system was largely seen as a way for rural more white counties to count more in statewide elections. And that changed in nineteen sixty two civil rights leaders raised many objections to it because it really was seen as being a deliberate way to have less influence from George's more. Populous more diverse counties in the Atlanta metro area in particular. So how did the Voting Rights Act of nineteen sixty five change the situation in Georgia? Well, the Voting Rights Act of nineteen sixty five changed a lot in Georgia. It not only required full equal access to the polls or every citizen of the state. It also co defied into LOL that the department of Justice needs to give pre clearance to the state of Georgia for any changes that the state makes either an access to the polls or any legislation having to do with voting. There was a change to that in twenty thirteen with a supreme court struck down a portion of the Voting Rights Act that said the department of Justice would not need to give pre approval to those kinds of changes to now the court is saying the test you hadn't places outdated. It goes back to nineteen sixty five so much has changed our cultures. Change society is changed. If you're going to do this you have to rewrite the test if you will. And certainly we've seen a number of changes to legislation in Georgia having to do with voting including the exact match law. In two thousand seventeen all of that's happened. Since supreme court struck down that portion of the law. Have there been voter suppression tactics used in recent years in Georgia outright, voter suppression is not something that we hear about in kind of in modern times in Georgia. However as the election in Georgia draws closer as early voting has started, we've heard just smaller examples of groups, not having equal access to the polls. There was a group of African American voters on their way to the polls in north Georgia. From a senior center, we've got a rally inside people are singing and chanting, you're on your way to the poll on our way to the polls. And as we get ready to pull off the bus kit. Stop the director of the center came out and stop flack the bus down. That's when we were told that someone had passed by saw this getting on the bus, call the county commission office the county administrator had called the directors say those folks to get off the bus now the bus was stopped. New six spoke with Jefferson County at ministry. Later, Adam brand about why seniors were towed after getting on the bus that they had to get off before going to vote as a political event where during their early voting on a very contentious election. That's that's a political event. And we don't allow that you just don't like to see a large group of any minority on a bus stop from voting. Just is something that in a state with our history prophet Americans. Just brings it back. We did get a letter from the secretary of state's office, and they did say that is under investigation. How do people in Georgia feel about these laws right now? I mean, you got Brian Kemp who's the guy behind them? And you've got Stacey Abrams who's fighting them where the people stand on this. Well, I think as with a lot of things across the country. How you see this issue has a lot to do with their partisan affiliation. And probably your life experience to be fair. If somebody has been living in Georgia for the whole life. They're white. It's never been a problem to vote. It's not something that really raises a red flag for them for African. Ericans some people that I interviewed for a recent story talked about being the first or only black kid in their high school year. The Georgia schools were integrated their chemistry teacher who was white. Didn't give them the homework assignment. So they feel chemistry. This is very real personal recent history for number of African Americans. And so to believe that they could be on the list because their name is unusual or to see groups Latinos or Asian Americans or African Americans affected differently by a law that the secretary of state is pushing it just I think increases their anxiety about the vote and also in some cases makes them less likely to vote which in itself is sort of an indirect form voter suppression. But I think it has a lot to do with your life experience as to whether you're really personally worried about it. So who do you think's going to win? I have no idea. Nobody knows that's not been seen as viable for democrat to be elected governor in Georgia at least since two thousand two. So the fact that it's even close as testament to the changing nature of the state and the changing nature of the state's politics testament to the voter turnout operation that C brooms has been building for the last decade and kind of testament to the changing politics in the state. The fact that she could be elected governor. I don't think it's a situation that maybe even she herself would have believed possible for years ago. Even if she didn't win it's it's a major change in the state that she could win. And that that self is going to be notable, no matter what happens on election day. Patricia Murphy is a writer for the Daily Beast. I'm Sean Rama's firm. This is today. Explain. Caitlin tiffany. And Ashley Carmen it's been a week. We've been talking about your verge podcast wide, you push that button about all the conflicts that technology presents every day Caitlin yesterday. We heard about one of your favorites in the archives. Ashley, you're up if a bunch of episodes, but one of my favorites kind of nerdy. It's about why you ignored someone's Facebook event invite. So I don't know if you realize this one a surprising number of people didn't realize that if you click on the Facebook event and look at it other people can see that you've seen it. We actually talked to a Facebook product manager who explains why that dang seen receipt exists because honing lives, I can't tell you if those on the Bob cast, where do I find it? Oh, all the places. You normally find podcast apple podcasts. Spotify podcasts, Stitcher, Google it. Cool Google it. Why'd you push that button. Thanks caitlyn. Thanks, ashley. Bye.

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