Georgia Is Preparing To Purge About 330,000 Voters From Its Rolls
Georgia is planning another massive purge of its voter rolls, and this time about 330,000 voters could see their registrations canceled, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Those facing elimination from the rolls include former residents who have moved to a new state and voters who have not participated in elections for several years.
The state purged 534,119 registrations in July 2017, the Journal-Constitution noted, in what was “the largest single removal of voters in U.S. history.”
Voting rights became a hot-button issue during the election last year, defining the race for governor between then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican, and Democrat Stacey Abrams. Kemp won the election by just 1.4 percentage points.
Abrams subsequently founded a group dedicated to addressing voting rights in Georgia, called Fair Fight Action.
“Voters should not lose their right to vote simply because they have decided not to express that right in recent elections,” said Lauren Groh-Wargo, the CEO for Fair Fight Action. “Having a long history of voter suppression, the Georgia secretary of state’s office has a responsibility to guarantee that not a single voter is wrongly included on the purge list.”
“Georgia Elections Director Chris Harvey said notifications will be sent in early November to the last known addresses of each of the inactive voters,” the Journal-Constitution reported. “If they don’t respond within 30 days, their names will be removed from the voter rolls in December.”
Harvey said accurate voter rolls “limit confusion and delays at polling places on Election Day, and make sure voters get to vote the complete ballot to which they are entitled.”
He also said it allows county election offices to adequately plan for election day and reduces the risk of fraud.
Myrna Pérez, director of the Voting Rights and Elections Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, said accurate voter lists are important, but officials must exercise due caution to avoid purging legitimate voters.
She noted that in the last election, many voters were unaware of their status when they showed up at the polls.
“There were a lot of people showing up on Election Day and not finding themselves on the rolls and not understanding why,” Pérez said. “When mistakes are made, we feel it on Election Day. That’s the last place you want to feel it.”