Georgia voter applications rolling into local election offices

Georgia voter applications by the thousands continue to pour into local election offices — some from as far back as April — with officials in some cases instituting mandatory overtime to deal with the workload.

The rush comes ahead of Monday, the state’s deadline for voter registration for the Nov. 4 election. And it is being watched closely by a Democratic-backed group that said Thursday that it still could not locate more than 42,760 applicants on Georgia’s voter rolls despite in some cases filing their paperwork months ago.

That number represents nearly half of the more than 85,000 applications submitted by the New Georgia Project since March. The group is the focus of an investigation by Secretary of State Brian Kemp involving allegations of voter registration fraud, although investigators say there is no evidence the group’s leaders are involved. So far, they have found 33 forged applications.

Fulton County, which has the biggest number of pending voter applications in the state, received more than 7,000 applications last week submitted through the state’s Department of Driver Services from as far back as late April but after the state’s deadline to register to vote in the May 20 primary.

It is common for such applications to be held in a queue through the Secretary of State Office’s processing system, and then be electronically forwarded to the proper county. The process often sends those applications in batches, including the one that hit Fulton.

Fulton Elections Director Richard Barron has instituted a “mandatory overtime plan” until the DDS applications are processed, although overtime will be used to process paper applications, too. The county is also still trying to reach more than 4,000 Fulton residents to ask for more information related to their applications.

Processing of so-called “pending” voters can be held up for a number of reasons, including the need to verify Social Security numbers, citizenship status and home addresses, or to reconcile a clash with information kept by the DDS.

Pending voters in Georgia may cast a provisional ballot Nov. 4, although they will still have to provide that information.

“We want to make clear all applications are being processed,” said Jared Thomas, Kemp’s spokesman. “We have not heard from any county that they are in doubt to process applications by the deadline.”