Protect Democracy filed an emergency lawsuit Tuesday night asking a federal district court in Georgia to block Secretary of State Brian Kemp from presiding over the very race he’s trying to win.
The nonprofit filed the complaint in the United States District Court in Atlanta on behalf of Georgia voters just hours before the polls closed seeking a temporary restraining order to bar Kemp from being able to count votes, certify results or call a recount or runoff election.
Kemp is in a tight race against Democrat Stacey Abrams in what could be a historic election. If Abrams wins, she would be the first black woman elected governor in U.S. history.
“This violates a basic notion of fairness — that a man should not be a judge in his own matter — and has had predicable results: in recent days Defendant Kemp has used the official powers of his office to interfere in the election to benefit himself and his political party and disadvantage his opponents,” the group alleged in its complaint.
Kemp has been accused of trying to suppress the voting power of minorities, who tend to vote for the Democratic candidate. He faced multiple lawsuits over the states “exact match” voter registration law leading up to Tuesday.
A federal district court judge ordered Kemp to give more than 51,000 voters a chance to prove their citizenship after they were initially deemed ineligible. His office was also ordered by another federal district court to stop tossing out absentee ballots and applications for voters whose signatures did not match the one on the state’s voter rolls without giving voters a chance to correct the discrepancy.
As voters headed to the polls Tuesday in Georgia, many were met by long lines due to issues with malfunctioning voting machines, according to media reports.
“Acting as chief election administration official in an election in which one is running for office poses a risk of bias under the best circumstances,” Protect Democracy argued in the filing.
"But Kemp’s efforts to use the authority of his office to advance his campaign have been extreme.”