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House Oversight Committee investigating reports of voter suppression in Georgia

The House Oversight Committee is requesting documents from Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger as part of the committee's investigation into reports of voter suppression in the state. Kemp, a Republican who narrowly defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams in the 2018 gubernatorial election, is suspected by some Democrats of deliberately making voting more difficult during his tenure as secretary of state.

Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings and Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, note in the letter that the secretary of state's office canceled 1.4 million voting registrations under Kemp's leadership. The letter also addresses the controversial decision by Kemp to place 53,000 voting applications on hold in 2018, the majority of which were for black Georgians.

"The Committee on Oversight and Reform is investigating recent reports of serious problems with voter registration, voter access, and other matters affecting the ability of people in Georgia to exercise their right to vote," the letter to Kemp said, adding that the committee was "particularly concerned" with actions during Kemp's tenure as secretary of state.

Abrams, a black woman and the former minority leader of the state House of Representatives, did not directly concede to Kemp, blaming her loss on voter suppression tactics that predominantly affected black voters.

"This speech is not a concession, because concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true, or proper," Abrams said at the time, but she added that the "law offers no possible remedy." "I don't want to hold public office if I need to scheme my way into the post," Abrams added, on why she would not bring forward a legal challenge.

If she had won, Abrams would have been the first black female governor in the country. She remains a popular politician among Democrats and is considering a Senate run. In February, she delivered the response to President Trump's State of the Union address. After the 2018 midterm elections, the Abrams-backed group Fair Fight Action filed a federal lawsuit challenging the way Georgia's elections are run.

The state has closed nearly 200 polling places since 2012, and considered closing all polling places in a majority-black county in 2018, although that plan was eventually abandoned.

The committee is requesting all documents related to any government actions to remove voters from the rolls, pertaining to the placement of voter applications on hold, relating to "sequestration" of unused voting machines, and potential conflicts of interest by Kemp.