40,000 Voter-Registration Applications Submitted by Blacks and Hispanics Disappear in Ga.

If the secretary of state doesn’t find out what happened to those applications, he’ll have to answer to a judge.

Attendees during a voter-registration drive Sept. 4, 2008, at Justin’s Restaurant in Atlanta
Attendees during a voter-registration drive Sept. 4, 2008, at Justin’s Restaurant in Atlanta Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Editor’s note: According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,​ Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp claimed that nearly 40,000 voter-registration applications in Georgia that were supposedly unaccounted for have been found and processed, and those applicants are now registered to vote. Kemp also said on Thursday that another 10,000 or so applications need more information about the identities of the applicants before they are cleared.  ​

It’s one thing to misplace your keys, your wallet, a receipt from Macy’s or your favorite pen, but Georgia’s secretary of state cannot account for approximately 40,000 voter-registration applications that, if processed, would enfranchise predominantly black and Hispanic Georgians.

According to an Al-Jazeera report, it’s a sentiment that the staffers at Third Sector Development are expressing. The nonprofit organization was on a mission to register as many black and Hispanic people in the state of Georgia as possible so that voter turnout for the upcoming midterm elections in November would be high. And they were successful at it, until they received word that about half of the applications they submitted for processing have gone missing in action.

“Over the last few months, the group submitted some 80,000 voter-registration forms to the Georgia secretary of state’s office—but as of last week, about half those new registrants, more than 40,000 Georgians, were still not listed on preliminary voter rolls. And there is no public record of those 40,000-plus applications, according to state Rep. Stacey Adams, a Democrat,” Al-Jazeera explained.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp explained that his office is not doing anything differently from how it usually processes applications. But some people aren’t buying his story, seeing as how he’s a Republican, and black and Hispanic people tend to vote for Democrats.

Georgia Republicans have been raising eyebrows for some time now with regard to early voting and voter-ID issues. One state Republican didn’t like how black and Hispanic voters had easy access to early-voting opportunities.

The “Republican whip of the state Senate complained that DeKalb County, Ga., was making it too easy for minorities to vote by allowing early voting in an area mall close to many predominantly African-American churches,” Think Progress reports.

Third Sector Development is not taking lightly the news that no one knows what became of its hard work to get people to register to vote. The group is going to court so that a judge can look into it.