Georgia group allowed to keep voter registration copies longer

The State Election Board will allow a voter advocacy group to keep copies of registration forms for an extended period of time this year as the group seeks to confirm Georgia properly registered all eligible applicants ahead of the November presidential election.

The New Georgia Project, which made headlines two years ago in a statewide controversy over its voter registration efforts, would have been required under state law to destroy copies of applications within 90 days of submission. Friday’s extension will allow it to keep the copies an additional 90 days to ensure the registration forms are processed.

The request came amid a packed election year schedule in Georgia, which has included a March 1 presidential primary, a May 24 state and local primary, and a primary runoff election to be held Tuesday.

It was prompted by the fact that some counties delay processing applications between a voter registration deadline and an election to avoid confusing ineligible voters, meaning it takes longer in those counties to know whether an application has been approved.

The policy began in an era when voters registered only on paper, and it was a way to prevent accidental voting by anyone who missed the deadline. Earlier this year, however, state officials said what’s known as a 90-day “blackout” period is no longer needed and that the state’s current online system is good enough to prevent accidental voting from happening.

The board approved the request on a unanimous vote Friday, after receiving a recommendation to do so by the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

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