A clip of Georgia Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams taking Republican Brian Kemp to task during a 2018 debate over his record on voting rights in the peach state once again went viral on Wednesday, as Abrams prepares to take on the now-sitting governor in a November rematch.
In the clip, Kemp asks Abrams why she’s “encouraging people to break the law” for her in the election, Abrams responds by dismissing Kemp’s suggestion out of hand and reminding him of his own proven history of unlawful voter suppression. “What I’ve asked for is that you allow those who are legally eligible to vote to allow them to cast their ballots,” Abrams says. “In fact, we took you to court in 2016 and a federal judge said that you illegally canceled 34,000 registrations.”
Abrams and Kemp are currently locked in a heated rematch for the governor’s seat, with Kemp leading by single digits in most polls. Abrams is hoping that the statewide push to register voters and increase turnout will swing results her way in the November election.
During his tenure as Georgia Secretary of State Kemp was repeatedly accused of intentionally purging voters from Georgia election rolls with the intent of suppressing turnout. In 2018 a judge ruled that Kemp’s “exact match” voter registration policy, which disproportionately rejected the registrations of latino voters and voters of color, placed an unlawful “severe burden” on voters. Critics pointed out the ethical concerns of having Kemp actively serve as Secretary of State while also running for Governor.
As previously reported by Rolling Stone, during his 2018 campaign, Kemp was caught on tape complaining that statewide voter registration efforts led by his opponent Abrams were a “concern” for his campaign, “especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated the video was from this week.