Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Signals Support for State’s Election Integrity Reform Legislation

In this image provided by the Georgia Port Authority, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during the Georgia Ports Authority's Savannah State of the Port event, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, in Savannah, Ga. The GPA plans to double capacity at Garden City Terminal to 11 million twenty-foot equivalent container units per …
Stephen Morton/Georgia Port Authority via AP

Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) told Breitbart Editor-in-chief Alex Marlow he supports election integrity reform legislation currently under consideration by the Georgia General Assembly that would require photo IDs for absentee voting by mail on Wednesday’s edition of Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Daily radio program.

“So Georgia also became ground zero for the debate about mail in voting and election integrity for a number of reasons and I think it will be that way for a while. One of the things that was most controversial was this [March 2020] consent decree, which made it very difficult to check signatures, and it made it so the bounce back, the rejection rate for mail in voting between 2016 and 2020 in the election was wildly different. It was several percentage points in 2016, and a fraction of a percent in 2020, which a lot of people see, and I see it this way too, as hugely advantageous for the Democrats. It was a very close state, both for the presidential race and the two Senate races,” Marlow said.

“Can you talk about this consent decree? I know Trump blamed you for it personally. It’s obviously more complicated than that, but can you give me your perspective on it?” Marlow asked.

“The consent decree was something that was worked out with the Secretary [of] State, who is a constitutional officer; he’s elected statewide just like I am. The Attorney General, and also I believe the attorney for the Georgia Republican Party was involved in those negotiations. So, you would have to speak to them about the details and why they decided to do that,” Kemp responded.

“From my perspective, there’s a lot of people’s confidence that’s been shaken, especially because [of] the volume of mail in ballots that we’ve had,” the governor continued.

“I believe that we should have a photo ID requirement on absentee voting by mail to make sure that we secure the vote, make it easy to vote and hard to cheat in Georgia. That’s exactly what we’re working on in the legislature, along with other things that we saw as a problem. Having monitors be able to actually watch the process and not be pushed so far away they couldn’t view that, and other things that we are working with the General Assembly on right now, so I can assure you we are going to be addressing many of those issues as we move forward,” Kemp continued.

“I was disappointed in the presidential election. I worked very hard for the president all the way through,” he noted.

“At the end of the day, the results are what they are. We’ve got to look forward, I think, as a party and as a state and I think doing the photo ID requirement on absentee ballot by mail not only further secures the vote but also makes the efficiency of our local election officials dealing with that volume of mail in ballots that we have be a lot better. It just makes good common sense to me. We’re actually working on that right now,” Kemp added.

Marlow then pressed Kemp on his position concerning proposals to ban the private funding of election administration.

“One other thing that was really a fascinating thing that wildly helped Democrats as well is this sort of public private partnership when it comes to these elections. Tech giants, Mark Zuckerberg in particular, placing drop boxes to mail in these ballots, particularly in Democrat areas again, wildly favoring Democrats. The Republican Party’s national election reform commission has put forward a bill to ban this practice. Are you aware of this, do you agree with that, and any thoughts looking back on these strange boxes?” Marlow asked.

“That is definitely something we’re looking at here. I know there are a couple of bills, or either will be, that will be introduced to address that. I look forward to working with the legislature to address that,” Kemp responded.

“In the post all of election processes playing out over the last several months, we’ve done debriefs with folks on the ground here who were with the Trump campaign with Senator Perdue. I talked with Senator Loeffler the other day about some of the things that they saw that they felt like were not parity quite honestly and I think this is one of those issues,” Kemp said.

Marlow then pressed Kemp regarding private funding of the administration of elections.

“You’re not committing either way to supporting a ban on the private funding of elections?,” Marlow asked.

“I’m not a big fan of that. I haven’t seen the specific legislation. We’re just now getting into that. I wouldn’t want to come out and 100 percent endorse it.  I do think it’s troubling that you have … there are outside interests that are picking sides in a sense of a nonpartisan way that is troubling . I think it’s something we will definitely be digging into ,” Kemp responded.

Marlow asked about the role lower Republican turnout played in the outcome of the two runoff U.S. Senate races, in which Democrat challengers defeated two Republican incumbents.

“I’m sure you watched the surreal scenes in Georgia where there were people who were supposedly supporting the president who were essentially suggesting Republicans withhold votes from Senators Loeffler and Perdue. I think they unfortunately made the difference in the election and gave the Senate to the Democrats. Do you agree with me?” Marlow asked.

“I know people like I am are upset at the outcome of the presidential race here and the Senate races as well. We have to learn and grow from that. We’ve got to figure out ways we can better combat the Democrats on the ground. I want people out there to know we hear you.  We’re working on these issues. At the end of the day, we’ve got to come together to win the U.S. Senate back,” he added.

“I think it’s a good lesson to us that we have to stay focused. I think in the runoff there were just so many distractions it really hurt us and it cost us the U.S. Senate. There’s not a whole lot that we can do about that now other than learn from it. A lot of people are working hard and looking at other states that have done things to combat what Democrats are doing on the ground. That’s what we need to do in Georgia, and that is underway,” Kemp concluded.

You can listen to the full interview here:

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