The Corner


The Georgia Smear

Brian Kemp at a post-election rally in Athens, Ga., November 7, 2018. (Chris Aluka Berry/Reuters)

Back in 2016, when Trump refused to say he’d necessarily accept the result if he lost, we were told that this was a terrible violation of democratic norms. Now, refusing to accept that you lost an election is the highest form of patriotism. Not only are the media and the Left not pressuring Stacey Abrams to admit that she lost the gubernatorial election in Georgia, they are calling the election a travesty and national disgrace.

This from Dan Rather was typical:

There are a number of charges, none of which have merit:

  • Brian Kemp ran for governor while he was still secretary of state. You may not like it, but this is how the Georgia constitution is set up. Kemp ran for reelection twice as secretary of state while occupying the office, with nothing untoward happening or anyone seriously alleging it. What was different this time is that the stakes were larger. Even if Kemp wanted to somehow change the results in his favor, the votes are counted at the local level, not by the secretary of state.
  • Kemp purged the rolls. Yes, but there’s nothing wrong with keeping updated voter rolls. In fact, it’s required under federal and state law. Obviously, if people die or move out of the state, they should be taken off the rolls. More controversial is Georgia’s “use it or lose it” rule. It’s not exactly draconian. If you don’t vote in an election for three years, you get notices and if you don’t reply to them, the process starts. If you don’t vote in the next two federal elections, you are taken off the rolls. A similar rule in Ohio was upheld by the Supreme Court. A little more than 100,000 people were taken off the rolls in Georgia under the rule. They can always re-register, assuming they are still in the state and eligible.
  • Kemp shut down polling places. Actually, any decisions about polling places are made by localities. The counties that cut polling places are typically rural and cash-strapped and close down polling places that are under-utilized or not handicapped-accessible. Kemp didn’t encourage the shuttering of polling places.
  • Kemp kept people from voting over piddling bureaucratic errors. This refers to the so-called exact-match law. If a person registers and his information doesn’t match his driver’s license, state ID card, or Social Security records, he has 26 months to clear up the discrepancy. Meanwhile, he is in the “pending file.” This doesn’t mean he can’t vote. He can show up and vote with an ID verifying his information.

In short, this isn’t a Third World system or neo Jim Crow, nor did Brian Kemp cheat. His fundamental offense was beating Stacey Abrams in an election, fair and square.

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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