MSNBC Claims 'Voter Suppression' by Republicans Is 'Urgent Problem'

November 6th, 2018 10:20 AM

On Monday afternoon, the day before Election Day, MSNBC was still running with charges of "voter suppression" by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp as the Republican runs for governor of the state. MSNBC host Ali Velshi claimed that "actual voter suppression" is an "urgent problem" in this year's election.

Additionally, even though the two biggest accusations of "voter suppression" have already been discredited, other networks have mostly failed to inform viewers that the charges have little to stand on, and even continue to repeat and give credence to misleading claims by Democrats.

At 1:31 p.m. Eastern, on MSNBC's Velshi and Ruhle, co-host Velshi teased: "Coming up next, one of the most urgent problems in the midterm elections is actual voter suppression. The issue is getting a lot of attention in Georgia right now, but it's not just Georgia. How some voters are being kept from the polls throughout the country, when we come back."

A few minutes later, Velshi and co-host Stephanie Ruhle introduced the segment by dismissively recalling that Kemp has called for an investigation of the state Democratic party over an attempted hacking of the state's voter registration system. Ruhle then recalled that, "For weeks, Kemp has been facing accusations of trying to suppress the minority vote."

She soon added: "And these voter suppression allegations are not just a problem in Georgia. Activists have recently raised concerns in North Carolina, Kansas, North Dakota and Texas, the alleged tactic affecting most minority communities. This is 2018. Please." After remarking, "This shouldn't be a problem," Velshi brought aboard correspondent Rehema Ellis and then claimed that Kemp "has been on the wrong side" of the issue for years.

Later in the day, on MSNBC's The Beat, host Ari Melber devoted time to the issue and fretted over Kemp cancelling more than a million voter registrations in the past decade, leading guest Marc Morial of the National Urban League to deride Kemp as the "suppressor in chief" and claim he is "abusing his power."

It was not clarified that it is part of Kemp's job, as required by a law passed by state Democrats in the 1990s, to cancel voter registrations of inactive voters who have gone seven or eight years without either voting or confirming with the registrar that their address is still correct.

Additionally, the debunked issue of the 53,000 new voter registrations that are on hold which has also been reported in a misleading way, was brought up again as MSNBC's Katy Tur showed up a bit later in the show and again behaved as if she were unaware why a large percentage of the pending registrations are from minority voters. 

TUR: There are still some, though, that are really worried about whether their vote is going to count, and they've got a reason to be worried. There are 53,000 voter registrations that are on hold at the secretary of state's office. And I believe you've been talking about this -- 70 percent of them are African-American.

Kemp and conservative talk radio host Erick Erickson discussed both issues a couple of weeks ago.

Over the past several days, a number of MSNBC hosts and shows have continued to misleadingly claim "voter suppression" in Georgia without informing viewers that the claims have been discredited.

CNN has also continued to give some attention to the phony claims in the closing days of the campaign season. On Thursday, host Don Lemon even pushed a conspiracy theory that President Donald Trump has been highlighting illegal immigration as an issue to distract attention from "voter suppression."

Lemon: "Maybe because, all right, here's what he doesn't want you to talk about. He doesn't want you to talk about allegations of voter suppression across this country, okay?"

He added: "In Georgia, where the Republican candidate ... he faces backlash and lawsuits after the Associated Press reported his office suspended more than 53,000 voter applications. Guess what -- almost 70 percent of them are African-Americans."

Other networks like PBS have also covered the "voter suppression" accusations over the past week without informing viewers of how such a large number of minority registrations were put on pending status. And, even though most cases can be solved by simply bringing one's voter ID to vote, while provisional ballots can be used as a last resort for any eligible voters, some accounts have made it sound as if some eligible voters may not be able to vote at all.

And, appearing as a guest on Friday's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, the ACLU's executive director wrongly claimed that there were 53,000 rejected absentee ballots in Georgia that were in danger of being thrown out when, in reality, the number would seem to be closer to 1,000 statewide, as the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported, that 390 initially rejected absentee ballots in Gwinnett County were about 37 percent of the state total.