People leave the Gwinnett County Voter Registration and Elections office in Lawrenceville after voting on the proposed MARTA expansion into Gwinnett County Saturday, March 9, 2019. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Photo: Steve Schaefer
Photo: Steve Schaefer

Georgia releases list of 313K at risk of purge from voter list

Georgia election officials released the names of 313,243 people Wednesday whose voter registrations are set to soon be canceled because they moved away or haven’t participated in elections for several years.

The cancellations, expected to be completed in December, would reduce the number of registered voters in Georgia by 4%. There are currently about 7.4 million registered voters in Georgia.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday that more than 300,000 registrations could be removed from the state’s voter rolls.

It will be the first purge since Georgia canceled about 534,000 registrations in July 2017, the largest removal of voters in U.S. history.

“Accurate and up-to-date voter rolls are vital to secure elections, but at the same time I want to ensure that anyone potentially affected by this routine process has notice and opportunity to update their information,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said. “That is why my office is releasing the full list to ensure that people who are still eligible voters can update their information.”

Election officials will send letters next week to the last known addresses of voters whose registrations could be canceled, according to a new state law. Similar notices weren’t sent before the last large-scale cancellation two years ago.

Voters can prevent their registrations from being canceled if they sign and mail a postage-paid postcard that will be included with cancellation notices. Voters can also remain on the state’s rolls if they re-register or change their addresses online.

Nearly two-thirds of the people on the cancellation list either had election mail returned as undeliverable or filed a change of address request with the U.S. Postal Service showing they had moved to a different county or state.

The remaining 120,561 people on the list had no contact with election officials since before the 2012 presidential election, according to the secretary of state’s office.

“We are very concerned and disappointed that the secretary of state persists in canceling the registration of duly registered Georgia citizens,” said Andrea Young, the executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. “We urge everyone to check their voter registration status.”

Georgia voters facing cancellation were declared “inactive” after three years in which they failed to participate in elections, contact election officials, respond to election officials’ mail or update their registrations. A change in state law this year lengthens the period before voters become “inactive,” from three years to five years.

Then if voters don’t cast a ballot in the next two general elections after they become inactive, their registrations can be canceled.

Georgians can check their voter registration status online by visiting the state’s My Voter Page at www.mvp.sos.gov. They can also use the website to reactivate their registrations by registering to vote or changing their addresses online.

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