Stacey Abrams gave the Democratic Party’s rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. In prepared remarks, she used the opportunity to highlight the way she and Republican leaders worked together in Georgia’s Legislature while slamming the president for engineering the recently ended 35-day partial shutdown of the federal government. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

White House hopefuls to help Abrams’ group contact voters who may be purged 

At least three presidential contenders will join Stacey Abrams and her Fair Fight voting rights group the day after the debate in an effort to contact thousands of voters who may be stricken from Georgia’s voting rolls.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. and entrepreneur Andrew Yang will join the event Thursday at Ebenezer Baptist Church, part of a phone bank that aims to reach thousands of Georgia voters who might be purged because they haven’t participated in elections for several years.

The state plans to cancel more than 300,000 voter registrations this year, following the largest single removal of voters in U.S. history in 2017. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger released the names of the voters, and Fair Fight operatives have tracked down many of their numbers.

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The majority of people whose registrations could be canceled — 62% — moved away, according to a list made public by the secretary of state’s office. Either they filed change-of-address forms showing they moved to a different county or state, or their mail from election officials was returned as undeliverable.

The remaining 120,561 registrations set for cancellation are matched to voters who haven’t cast a ballot since spring 2012 or before, according to the state’s list. Voter registrations can be canceled after three years of inactivity followed by no contact with election officials during the next two general elections.

The phone bank will last from 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. and other groups, including the Georgia NAACP and Planned Parenthood’s Georgia chapter, are expected to participate. Other presidential candidates could also join Buttigieg and Yang. 

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It’s one of several events Abrams is hosting surrounding the Democratic debate that promote voting rights, a clash that helped frame last year’s gubernatorial race against Republican Brian Kemp, who as secretary of state oversaw Georgia elections.

Disputes over the counting of absentee and provisional ballots, voter purges and problems plaguing polling sites triggered a spate of federal lawsuits, a push for a new voting system and outrage from critics who see voter suppression at works. 

Republicans say their efforts were aimed at preventing voter fraud and point to Georgia’s record 7.4 million registered voters and its automatic voter registration program.

Read more: Voting struggles put spotlight on major elections in Georgia

- Staff writer Mark Niesse contributed to this report

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.