Discrimination in the Georgia Primaries


The southern state of Georgia is a well known red state and has been known a such for quite a while. This affiliation simply means that the state is more likely to have a majority vote for the republican party. Typically when we think of a state being red or blue we think of this in terms of the electoral college which is the system that determines federal elections by taking into account the vote of an elected representative(s) from each state. This standing can also have an effect on the local elections within a state though, there are many states that have not seen a democrat in office for decades.  Georgia is one of these states, but Stacey Abrams sought to change this in November when she ran for Secretary of State against Brian Kemp this November. Unfortunately for her and for the Democrats of Georgia she did not win, but there are many people who are suspicious that discrimination, in group bias, and an authoritarian personality played factors in her loss. (Stracqualursi, 2018)

There are rumors of discrimination within the voter laws during this past election in Georgia. Discrimination is unjustified negative behavior toward a group or its members. While there is no direct proof of racial or gender profiling, there are some suspicious factors that play into this idea. Brian Kemp, who ran against Abrams in this election, very passionately worked to weed out voters by taking many voters off of the voter registery for “the crime of not voting enough”  says Joan Walsh. (Walsh,  2018) He was also reported to fight to get may absentee ballots invalidated if they were not completely identical to their signature on record. While this sounds reasonable many voters were invalidated by simply a missing initial or hyphen in their name. Discrimination is seen in this situation in an unusual way, instead of discriminating by race or national origin- though it could be argued that those with foreign names could be easily taken off the roster due to misspellings- there was discrimination based on things like frequency of voting. New voters or different voters were discriminated against by having their rights taken away simply because they did something different. For clarification “ingroup “Us”—a group of people who share a sense of belonging, a feeling of common identity.” The ingroup in this situation could be the typical voter. Someone who votes in almost every election and votes in person. This is not only the person who a politician already in office would most likely relate to, but it is also the group that most likely voted for him in the last election. These are his people so under the guise of protecting their rights he can reasonably take people off of the voter registry that are in the out group, maybe they are new to voting or only vote when someone they particularly like is running. This would not only make them a threat to his campaign, but also something that he neither relates to or understand garnering them no sympathy when it comes time to decide how best to judge absentee ballots.

Authoritarian Personality is another theory that could have played a part in Abrams’ loss this November. Authoritarian personality is a personality that is disposed to favor obedience to authority and intolerance of outgroups and those lower in status. Because Kemp was already in a position of power and had a majority of votes without the inclusion of absentee ballots he had an aura of authority over Abrams. This led to his opinion about how absentee ballots should be weighed being taken more seriously and therefore taking precedent over hers. This shows the dangers of authoritarian personality in politics- if a personality is too authoritative then its ideas may overshadow those with a more reasonable approach. Just because Kemp was in a position of authority did not give him the right to take voters off the registry, but because of his position he commanded respect and obedience. Whereas Abrams who could have changed the game for voting rights in Georgia went unheard. Even when she backed another candidate who had less authority than her, their voices combined could not overwhelm that of Kemp. Kemp also had the power of the law behind him, those with Authoritarian Personality have a great respect for rule following as well as authority. Though the Georgia court had ruled to allow voters to send in absentee ballots despite their signatures not corresponding with those on record, Kemp had such a firm respect for the pre established rules that this did not strike him as correct therefore he fought even harder to change this. This shows Authoritarian personality because of his need to abide by the rules as well as his need for respect due to his position of authority.



Stracqualursi, V. (2018, November 07). Stacey Abrams refuses to concede Georgia governor’s race, hoping for runoff. Retrieved December 12, 2018, from https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/07/politics/georgia-governors-race-stacey-abrams/index.html

Walsh, J. (2018, December 05). Georgia Voters Lose Out on a Secretary of State Who Would Have Protected Their Voting Rights. Retrieved December 12, 2018, from https://www.thenation.com/article/georgia-voting-stacey-abrams-john-barrow/

Myers, D. G., & Twenge, J. M. (2018). Exploring social psychology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

-Isabelle Murphy










Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar