“We cannot undermine free and fair elections in Georgia because of baseless and unproven claims of fraud. Those who have echoed election fraud conspiracies without evidence under the guise of “election integrity” for years have laid the groundwork for this culture of fear and intimidation. The Republican Party must shut down their disinformation narratives and conspiracy theories that are endangering the lives of Georgians.
Black and Brown voters in Georgia have been subjected to false claims of voter fraud and voter fraud disinformation tactics for decades in attempts to intimidate, suppress, and depress voter participation, which has caused evergreen fear in these communities of being arrested or punished for using their constitutional right to participate in our democracy. Here in Georgia, our Republican elected officials have consistently and directly fed voter fraud narratives and fears for political purposes. Worse, they have used those narratives to push the prosecution and intimidation of voters of color specifically, including raiding Asian-American-led voter registration offices, sending police officers to Black voters’ homes in Sparta, and incarcerating Black voters in Quitman. The Georgia Secretary of State office’s long and shameful history of abusing its power to intimidate and suppress political opponents must end.
The current GOP created this democracy disinformation propaganda strategy as a way to suppress enough votes on the margins to try and win the November election. But this cynical and dangerous strategy backfired on them, infecting their own party and voters. Trump’s deputy campaign manager, Justin Clark, over a year ago clearly laid out the plan to intentionally escalate and broadcast small issues or mistakes that election administrators or voters made as “evidence” of widespread voter fraud.
We will continue to fight back against baseless and blatantly partisan attempts to undermine voting rights and restrict ballot access. Widespread voter fraud is a malicious myth. Voter suppression, however, is real, and we must not allow conspiracy-bloated narratives to inflict unnecessary and harmful restrictions on voting. Voters have spoken, and we must not allow bad actors to undermine the legitimacy of our system and incite dangerous rhetoric and threats against election officials, election workers, advocates, and voters.
We, the undersigned, reject the conspiracies and disinformation spread by those who seek to undermine our democratic process for partisan gain. Plainly put, any official who acts to legitimize these baseless attacks through shameful efforts or self-serving silence is complicit in an architecture of voter suppression and propaganda.”
Georgia Conservation Voters
Showing Up for Racial Justice
Step Up Savannah
Partnership for Southern Equity
Indivisible Georgia Coalition
Represent Georgia Action Network, Inc.
Georgia Working Families Party
American Federation of Teachers
Black Voters Matter
Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights
GALEO Impact Fund, Inc.
Advancement Project National Office
View the statement online here.
In 1946, Georgia gubernatorial candidate Eugene Talmadge orchestrated challenges en masse to black voters in more than 30 counties due to alleged fraud. These challenges resulted in up to 25,000 black GA voters being purged. (A Voting Rights Odyssey: Black Enfranchisement in Georgia, pages 52-53, 2003)
As much as this may seem like a relic of the past, Black and Brown Georgians have been consistently and routinely targeted by erroneous, dangerous voter fraud claims.
- In 2004, Blanket Voter Challenges Claiming Fraud Were Issued Against Nearly 80% Of The Latino Voters In Atkinson County And Similar Challenges Were Issued In Long County And Atlanta.“Other than the voters’ Hispanic names or self-reported ethnicity, the challengers offered no other evidence whatsoever to support their challenges.” (Caging Democracy, September 2017)
- In 2009, The DOJ Ruled That Nearly 5,000 Registered GA Voters Were Illegally Challenged By SOS Karen Handel in 2008 Due To Exact Match Policy Implemented to Stop Voter Fraud. (The Nation, 6/9/2017)
- In 2010, SOS Brian Kemp & The Georgia AG Arrested and Charged 12 Black Women Activists in Quitman, GA With 120 Counts of Felony Voter Fraud. After Four Years, All Charges Were Either Dropped or Dismissed, But Some Black Voters Never Returned to Vote. Kemp Opened The Investigation Following Complaints About Increased Absentee Ballot Use and Sent Armed Investigators Door- to-Door in Black Quitman Neighborhoods. (Equal Justice Initiative, 8/16/2019)
- In 2012, Olivia Pearson, A Black Grandmother In Douglas County, Was Charged With Four Voter Fraud Felonies And Subjected To 5 Years Of Investigations And Litigation From The State And County–After Showing A First Time Voter How To Use A Voting Machine And Signing An Assistance Form At The Polls. Every Single Civil Claim Against Was Dismissed By The SEB After 3 Years. In 2020, 5 Years Later, A Jury Acquitted Pearson Of The Remaining Felony Charges In Just 20 Minutes. (AJC, 5/10/2020)
- In 2012, Kemp Launched a 2.5 Year Voter Registration Fraud Investigation Against the Asian American Legal Advocacy Center After The AALAC Inquired Why So Many Registrations Were Not Being Processed. The Investigation Ended in 2015 With “No Finding Of Violations.” (The New Republic, 5/5/2015)
- In 2014, Kemp Launched An Investigation Into The New Georgia Project Accusing the Group of “Significant Illegal Activities” Regarding 85,000 Voter Registrations. After Only 001% Registrations Were Found to Have Any Issues, the Chief Investigator Admitted There Was No Evidence of Any Widespread Registration Fraud By NGP. (The New Republic, 5/5/2015)
- In 2015 The Hancock County BOE Challenged 17% Of Registered Voters In the County, Nearly All Of Whom Were Black. The County Sent Armed Officers To Voter’s Homes To Deliver Summons And Purged Any Voter Officers Could Not Contact. The NAACP Sued Hancock County And Restored All Voters Purged in 2017. (AJC, 3/08/2017)
- In 2016, Following Litigation, SOS Brian Kemp Restored Tens of Thousands of Voters Registrations Blocked Due to Voter Fraud Concerns. Voters Impacted Were Predominately Black, Latino, and Asian American. (AJC, 2/10/2017)
- In 2018, After The AP Discovered SOS Brian Kemp Placed 53,000 Voter Applications, 70% of Whom Were Black, on Hold. Kemp Claimed He Was Protecting Elections From “Illegal Voting.” (AP: 10/12/2018)
- In 2018, A Federal Court Ruled Against Kemp and Mandated Changes To Ensure 3,141 Voters His Office Had Tagged As Ineligible NonCitizens Could Vote Without Undue Burden. (Time, 11/3/2018)
- In 2018, The GA SOS Office Accused The Democratic Party of Georgia Of Hacking The Voter Registration System And Announced An Investigation The Weekend Before Election. One Day Later, The SOS’s Discovered DHS, In Partnership With Their Own Office, Was Actually Responsible For The Cyber Intrusions In Question. Instead Of Retracting Their Allegation, They Requested An Additional GBI Investigation The Following Day, Election Day. In March Of 2020, GBI Issued Their Final Report Clearing The DPG Of All Charges. (ORRs, AJC, 6/1/2020)
- In 2020, GA SOS Brad Raffensperger Announced The Creation Of A 12-Member Absentee Ballot Fraud Task Force Made Of Nearly All White, Republican, Prosecutors. (AJC, 4/27/2020)
- In 2020, Georgia Republicans Tried to Challenge 14,000 Fulton County Voters & Purge Them From Voter Rolls Claiming They Were Ineligible to Vote. (Atlanta Tribune, 9/29/2020)
- In 2020, Georgia’s Secretary of State Raffensperger Announced an Investigation Into and Potential Criminal Prosecutions of 1,000 Georgians Accused of Voting Twice; He Did Not Provide Evidence That They Had Done So Intentionally. (NPR, 9/8/2020)