Candidates for governor focus on voting access at 1st debate

Georgia Gubernatorial Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams and Republican candidate Brian Kemp greet each other before a live taping of the 2018 Gubernatorial debate for the Atlanta Press Club. (Photo: Alyssa Pointer, AJC)

ATLANTA — In the first debate of their race for Georgia governor, Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp continued to spar over claims of voter suppression and people who are in the country illegally being encouraged to cast ballots.

Abrams said that Kemp's record as Georgia's secretary of state "causes great concern" and pointed to the release of voter data under Kemp's watch and the state's "exact match" voter registration system.

She said Kemp has made it harder for legal citizens to cast ballots.

Kemp said those characterizations were "totally untrue."


He fired back, citing a recent video clip in which Abrams seems to say that "undocumented" immigrants were part of her coalition.

"Why are you encouraging people to break the law to vote for you?" Kemp asked.

Abrams said that Kemp was twisting her words and her record of making it easier for legal citizens to vote.

A day after the debate, President Donald Trump weighed in:

The Associated Press and our investigative partners at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and contributed to this report.