Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office removed a video on his website after it triggered outrage on social media for featuring an African-American actor who failed to bring proper photo ID to vote.
The minute-long video on the Republican’s website was created before the 2016 election and aimed to instruct voters how to cast a ballot during the early voting period.
It cast several children portraying adults as voters as a narrator describes the process of early voting. The lone African-American in the advertisement plays the role of the voter who fails to bring proper photo ID and is required to cast a provisional ballot.
Kemp, who is running for governor, is under scrutiny for a spate of decisions as the state’s top elections official that Democrats say will suppress minority voter participation. And the video stoked new calls for him to resign from the office while he’s running for governor.
The Republican has said he won’t step down and pointed to other secretaries of state who stayed in office while running for governor.
Kemp’s office said the videos were deleted because they are outdated and include language specifically for the 2016 election asserting that elections in Georgia are only conducted in English. Gwinnett County now offers elections materials in Spanish due to its fast-rising Hispanic population.
The video was one of four educational spots the state produced with help from federal Help America Vote Act grants, Kemp’s office said, and was designed to reflect the state’s diverse electorate in a “lighthearted” way. A companion video, also now deleted, shows a young African-American boy voting a regular ballot.
In a statement, the office credited the series of videos with helping to boost minority turnout.
“Leading up to the 2016 presidential election, the Secretary of State's office created a series of educational videos to enhance minority participation,” the office said. “It worked. Minority participation is up 23 percent in Georgia. Attacks on this educational initiative are sad and politically motivated.”