Early voting began Monday in Georgia and Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp questioned an Associated Press report during an interview with the Gwinnett Daily Post.

The Associated Press report revealed 53,000 voter applications that are on hold due to the state’s “exact-match” system. Georgia’s population is approximately 32 percent black, according to the U.S. Census, but the list of voter registrations on hold with Kemp’s office is nearly 70 percent black.

“They should go rally all the 53,000 people and tell them to go vote because they can,” Kemp said. “All they’ve got to do is show their photo ID and they can vote.”

The last two gubernatorial elections in Georgia were decided by 200,000 votes.

“First of all, it is a completely manufactured story,” Kemp said to the Gwinnett Daily Post. “Every single one of those people can vote, just like you if you’re registered. They just … go down to the polling location, show their photo ID and they can vote. If you look back at about this time in 2016, and this time in 2014, these same groups did the same type things.”

Meanwhile, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams repeated her call for Kemp to step aside from the Secretary of State’s office. In her interview Sunday with CNN, Abrams said the reality for those 53,000 voters are uncertain and that Kemp was “eroding public trust in the system.” The former Democratic leader of the state House of Representatives also noted the disproportionate share of voters affected were people of color or women.

“When you know that what you are doing is going to have a disproportionate effect on people of color and on women and you do it anyway, that erodes the public trust in the system and that’s problematic,” Abrams said.

By all accounts, Abrams and Kemp are locked in a statistical dead heat.

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Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...

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