Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., on Sunday snatched a student’s cellphone from him for a few moments as the student attempted to ask a question about possible voter suppression, The Washington Post reports.
The confrontation happened at Georgia Tech, where Perdue was campaigning for GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp. Kemp is locked in a tight race with Democrat Stacey Abrams, a former state lawmaker. His camp attracted scrutiny last week after The Associated Press reported that more than 53,000 voter registration applications were in limbo with Kemp’s office.
Several voting rights groups quickly followed with a lawsuit to force Georgia to reinstate voter registrations, according to The New York Times.
The lawsuit alleges that the state’s "exact match" identification policy, which is carried out by Kemp in his current position as Georgia's secretary of state, violates the Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act. "Exact match" means a voter's registration application can be put on hold if it doesn't exactly match government-issued identification, including such typos as a missing hyphen.
The overwhelming majority of the approximately 53,000 applications being held up were reportedly for African American and other minority voters.
The student who had his cellphone taken away, a member of the Young Democratic Socialists of American at Georgia Tech, has so far remained unnamed out of fear of retaliation, but is considering filing a report with campus police, according to the Post.
The incident began when the student tried to ask Perdue about the alleged voter suppression.
Saying “I’m not doing that,” Perdue took the phone, with the student demanding it back.
After a few moments of arguing, the senator walked away, and the student received the phone back.
The Young Democratic Socialists of America said that Perdue could simply have declined to answer the question and did not need to escalate the situation by taking the cellphone.
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