11/6/18 - Atlanta - The wait time to vote at the Pittman Park precinct in Atlanta was reported to be three hours. Pizza and snacks were donated for the people waiting in line. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

Bill aims to prevent voter purges in Georgia

A bill introduced in the Georgia House would stop the government from purging voters just because they didn’t vote in a recent election.

Democratic House Minority Leader Bob Trammell proposed the legislation Friday after more than 1.4 million voter registrations were canceled in Georgia since 2012, in many cases because they hadn’t exercised their right to vote for several years.

“With today’s technology, there’s no excuse that justifies making voting harder rather than simpler,” said Trammell, D-Luthersville. “The process of purging people from the voter registration rolls solely because they haven't voted in recent elections is undemocratic and corrosive to the integrity of our elections process.”

The measure, House Bill 6, would eliminate a state law passed in 1997 that allows Georgia’s secretary of state to target inactive voters. Canceling their registrations takes at least six years in Georgia. 

Voters can be declared “inactive” if they make no contact with election officials for three years and don’t return a mailed confirmation notice. Inactive voters’ registrations can then be canceled if they don’t participate in any elections or have contact with election officials for the next two federal general election cycles.

The U.S. Supreme Court in June upheld the legality of eliminating inactive voters from voter lists.

Supporters of the law, including Gov.-elect Brian Kemp, have said it helps prevent fraud and ensures accurate voter rolls.

Registrations can also be canceled when voters move, die or are convicted of a felony, among other reasons.

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