Here We Go Again: Georgia Purges 100,000 Voters from Registration Files

An Atlanta NAACP official told a local news outlet that he's worried about thousands of voters being wrongfully removed from the registration roll.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger
Photo: Jessica McGowan (Getty Images)

Like the Fast & Furious franchise, it seems like the saga of voter suppression in Georgia won’t end any time soon.

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CNN reports that more than 100,000 names will be removed from the state’s voter registration rolls. On Friday, Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger released a statement saying this is an attempt to keep his office’s files current by clearing out “ineligible,” “obsolete” and “outdated” voters.

From CNN:

The effort to remove 101,789 names from Georgia’s voter files marks the first time the state has conducted a “major cleaning” since 2019, but Georgia regularly removes the voter files of convicted felons and the dead on a monthly basis, according to the statement.

“The 101,789 obsolete voter files that will be removed include 67,286 voter files associated with a National Change of Address form submitted to the U.S. Postal Service; 34,227 voter files that had election mail returned to sender; and 276 that had no-contact with elections officials for at least five years,” the statement said. “In each of these cases, the individual had no contact with Georgia’s elections officials in any way - either directly or through the Department of Driver Services - for two general elections.”

Purges like this are nothing new in Georgia. According to The Los Angeles Times, Georgia’s secretary of state’s office has cancelled more than 1.4 million voter registrations between 2012 and 2018. But these efforts remain controversial for disproportionately rendering Black residents unable to vote.

Not only did Stacey Abrams and other voting rights activists take then-secretary of state and now current Gov. Brian Kemp both to task and to court over these previous purges, but the rampant (and just outright blatant) voter suppression on behalf of state Republicans even led to a Congressional investigation.

Gerald Griggs with the Atlanta branch of the NAACP told WSB-TV that he was worried that once again, the thousands of voters listed in the recent purge will be improperly removed from the state’s registration list as they were in 2019.

“We already have lawyers on standby, I am on standby, just in case we have to file litigation. So we are going to be watching this and we will respond if we believe voters have been disenfranchised,” Griggs said.

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Raffensperger, Kemp’s successor, is standing by the state’s practice of purging voters, saying that it’s “key to ensuring the integrity of our elections.”

Which, alright. If you say so, guy.

I’m sure you remember that former President Donald Trump and other members of Georgia’s Republican Party gave Raffensperger hell for acknowledging that Trump lost the state to Joe Biden.

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Due to Trump’s constant and baseless claims of widespread voter fraud within the state, Georgia swiftly passed a wildly restrictive voting law that–as The Root has written about before–mainly suppresses Black voters, as Black voters in Georgia primarily vote for Democrats and are more likely to vote by mail.

If that’s “integrity,” then I guess we should change the definition of the word.

According to the L.A. Times, those who were named in the most recent voter purge in Georgia have 40 days to respond in order to remain active voters.

DISCUSSION

By
fair_n_hite_451

I’ll need someone to explain this to me as a non-American person. I get that being purged from the voter roles if you are still an actual Georgia citizen is a pain in the ass. And shouldn’t happen.

But is there anything beyond the fact that you have to go through the registration process again as an impact?

I mean, if they secretly purge you, and you show up on voting day and can’t vote, because they didn’t tell you and you didn’t check ahead of time, I get it - that’s bad and that’s voter suppression if you were purged “in error” (the classic “accidentally on purpose” from our childhood).

But I’m assuming you CAN check in advance, and you can “re-register” in advance (again, not that you should have to), but it’s not like being purged means you can never vote again, right? Am I missing something?