22,000 people could be removed from Gwinnett voter rolls

October 18, 2018 Lawrenceville - Volunteer Alfred Leblanc (center) directs early voters at The Gwinnett County Voter Registrations and Elections Office in Lawrenceville on Thursday, October 18, 2018. More than 12,000 ballots had been received by the Gwinnett County Board of Voter Registration and Elections before the third day of in-person early voting had ended, county spokesman Joe Sorenson said. The county received 12,827 ballots by the end of the day Wednesday, about 45 percent of the 28,860 that have been issued for absentee by mail, advance in person, military and overseas voting. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
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October 18, 2018 Lawrenceville - Volunteer Alfred Leblanc (center) directs early voters at The Gwinnett County Voter Registrations and Elections Office in Lawrenceville on Thursday, October 18, 2018. More than 12,000 ballots had been received by the Gwinnett County Board of Voter Registration and Elections before the third day of in-person early voting had ended, county spokesman Joe Sorenson said. The county received 12,827 ballots by the end of the day Wednesday, about 45 percent of the 28,860 that have been issued for absentee by mail, advance in person, military and overseas voting. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Nearly 4 percent of Gwinnett County’s registered voters could be removed from the voter rolls before the 2020 elections if they do not contest their “inactive” status.

Voters are deemed “inactive” by the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office if the address on their voter registration and their address with the U.S. Postal Service do not match or if they have not voted or otherwise contacted the secretary of state’s office in three years, Gwinnett County Elections Director Kristi Royston said. Inactive voters can still vote — and that would take them off the inactive list — but if their inactivity continues for two more general elections, they risk removal from the county’s voter rolls.


The Gwinnett County Voter Registration and Elections Office is preparing to give 22,000 people notice that they could be purged from voter rolls. The process of deeming voters inactive and removing them from voter rolls has long existed in Georgia, but this is the first time people will be proactively notified of their risk of removal. The same legislation that requires new voting machines by 2020 also requires Georgia voters to be notified when they are designated as inactive by the secretary of state’s office.

It is not yet clear when the Gwinnett notices will be sent out, but once they are, recipients have 30 days to contest their inactive status. If they do not respond, their registration will be cancelled.

Every county but Gwinnett will have their inactive voter notices printed by the state. Because Gwinnett is required under federal law to provide all election materials in English and Spanish, the county must print and mail their own notices for 22,000 voters. A recent quote put the cost at around $15,000, Royston said.

“Our form contains the same information as the state form, but it is sent out in an envelope that is specific for our voters,” Royston said.

That envelope has the phrase "official election document" printed on the front in both English and Spanish to comply with the federal requirements. Inactive voters who receive the mailing will be able to remove themselves from the inactive list by filling out an included form and sending it to the secretary of state's office using a prepaid, pre-addressed envelope. Voters can also view their status on the secretary of state's website and fill out the forms online.

As of Oct. 1, Gwinnett County has 547,452 active registered voters and 52,099 inactive, a total of 599,551 registered.


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