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Jimmy Carter sends letter to Georgia Republican governor candidate asking him to resign

Brian Kemp's Secretary of State office in charge of monitoring state elections, including his own

Mythili Sampathkumar
Atlanta, Georgia
Monday 29 October 2018 15:16 GMT
US Midterms 2018: The five big questions

Former President Jimmy Carter has asked the Republican candidate for Georgia governor Brian Kemp to resign from his position as Secretary of State in light of his race against Democrat Stacey Abrams

Mr Carter, himself the former governor of the Peach State, asked Mr Kemp to vacate his position since the office is in charge of monitoring election results.

In a letter made available to the Associated Press, Mr Carter cited his vast experience watching elections around the world through the Carter Center, an Atlanta-based human rights organisation: “One of the key requirements for a fair and trusted process is that there be a nonbiased supervision of the electoral process”.

The 94-year-old politician and volunteer with Habitat for Humanity wrote to Mr Kemp in what the AP called “less as a partisan who has endorsed [Ms] Abrams and more as the former president who's spent the decades since he left the Oval Office monitoring elections around the world”.

Mr Kemp and Ms Abrams, who is looking to become the first black female governor in US history, are in a tight race as the country is just eight days away from the 6 November midterm elections.

If for some reason the pair’s vote counts are so close a further count or a runoff election is required by state rules, Mr Kemp’s office would be in charge of it.

Stacey Abrams victory speech in Georgia primaries

He told Mr Kemp that stepping down and appointing an Acting Secretary of State for Georgia "would be a sign that you recognise the importance of this key democratic principle and want to ensure the confidence of our citizens in the outcome."

Mr Kemp’s campaign nor his state office have immediately responded to a request for comment.

The Republican has been in the office since 2010 and has ignored calls for his resignation thus far.

He has also come under heavy scrutiny for voter suppression efforts around the state but maintains he is simply upholding Georgia law while using the “exact match” system which relies on driver license records which can often be outdated or not updated when someone becomes a US citizen, gets married, or divorced.

In Gwinnett County alone, just northwest of Atlanta, 50,000 absentee ballots had been rejected as a result of this and other policies.

During a recent debate, Mr Kemp had accused Ms Abrams of handing out ballots to “illegals” and the “undocumented… be part of [her] winning strategy”.

Ms Abrams shot back that she is “one of the foremost experts in the state on the expansion of voting rights” and denied the allegation.

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She then said: “What I have asked for is you allow those who are legally eligible to vote to allow them to cast their ballots. And in fact we took you to court in 2016 and a federal judge said you illegally cancelled 34,000 [voter] registrations.”

Ms Abrams added: “You used the exact same system, the ‘exact match’ system, that is under dispute right now.

AP fact-checked Mr Kemp’s debate claim against Ms Abrams and deemed it “wrong” and “inaccurate”.

There is another lawsuit pending against Mr Kemp in this election as well as 3,600 people who became US citizens just ahead of voter registration deadlines are waiting on a federal judge to see if they can vote next week.

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