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Georgia Secretary of State and Republican gubernatorial nominee Brian Kemp has reportedly told a group of donors that he’s concerned about his opponent, Stacey Abrams’ voter turnout efforts, according to a newly released audio recording—a revelation which comes amid outcry by civil liberties groups that thousands of ballots have recently been put on hold.
“As we were going into the start of early voting with the literally tens of millions of dollars that they are putting behind the get out and vote efforts for their base, a lot of that was absentee ballot requests that had just an unprecedented number of that; which is something that continues to concern us especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote, which they absolutely can, and mails those ballots in,” Kemp appears to say in a snippet of audio released by Rolling Stone. “We gotta have a heavy turnout to offset that.”
Kemp, a Trump-backed candidate who has championed strengthening voter identification laws, has faced criticism over the more than 53,000 voter applications that were put on hold due to the state’s restrictive “exact match” laws – regulations which require voters’ information on the rolls exactly match their government-issued identification.
A coalition of civil rights groups have sued over the law which they say disenfranchises minority voters.
Some 80 percent of the recently stalled batch of applications are from blacks, Latinos, and Asian-Americans, according to the plaintiffs in the suit. The Associated Press first reported about the stymied applications.
The Kemp campaign did not respond to ABC News’s request for comment about the statement nor would it confirm or deny the authenticity of the recording.
The Kemp campaign confirmed to Rolling Stone that the event took place in Atlanta last week, but did not respond to that publication’s multiple requests for comment about Kemp’s specific remarks.
ABC News has not reviewed the full and original audio.
The new audio is raising renewed concerns among some Democrats about the integrity of the office that oversees elections in the state.
“Brian Kemp’s contempt for democracy is now on full display as he flaunts his fear that his office’s blatant efforts at voter suppression won’t be sufficient to win this election for him,” said Abigail Collazo, a spokesperson for the Stacey Abrams campaign.
Abrams and Kemp will debate on Georgia Public Television Tuesday night at 7 p.m. EST.
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