Voters prepare to cast their ballots at Campbell Middle School during Election Day in Smyrna, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. This month’s elections were a chance for voters on a state purge list to be designated as active voters. (Alyssa Pointer/AJC)
Photo: Alyssa Pointer
Photo: Alyssa Pointer

Georgia voters saved from purge by casting ballots in election

Vast majority of state’s planned cancellations still expected next month.

About 90 Georgia voters appear to have prevented their registrations from being canceled by participating in this month’s elections, but the vast majority of the state’s 313,000 planned cancellations are moving forward.

An analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of the list of voters who cast ballots this month found 90 registration numbers that match names of people who had been scheduled for cancellation in December. Voting is one of the ways Georgians can protect their registrations.

Election officials intend to remove 313,000 of the state’s 7.4 million registered voters, about 4%, because they moved away or haven’t participated in elections for at least seven years.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office has said that inactive voters probably relocated to another state, meaning they aren’t eligible to vote in Georgia.

Critics of Georgia’s “use it or lose it” law, which cancels infrequent voters every other year, say it jeopardizes the voting rights of residents just because they haven’t cast ballots recently.

About 121,000 registrations are being canceled for inactivity since 2012 or earlier; the other 192,000 either filed change-of-address forms or mail from election officials was returned as undeliverable.

Voter registrations can be canceled for inactivity after they failed to have any contact with election officials for three years and then didn’t participate in the next two general elections.

Voters on the state’s cancellation list were mailed notices this month, and their registrations won’t be removed if they sign and return postage-paid postcards within 30 days. They can also restore their voting status by re-registering to vote.

Voters can also check their registration status online by visiting the state’s My Voter Page at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov.

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