Georgia plans to cancel registrations of 191,000 inactive voters

Registration removals increase over past two years
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced plans to cancel 191,000 voter registrations next month.  (Natrice Miller/

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced plans to cancel 191,000 voter registrations next month. (Natrice Miller/

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger plans to cancel the inactive voter registrations of 191,000 people who are scheduled to lose their ability to vote in Georgia next month.

The cancellations, called voter “purges” by their critics, will remove the registrations of voters who election officials believe moved away in recent years. Raffensperger announced Tuesday that their registrations will be canceled unless they respond to mailed notices from county election offices within 30 days of receipt.

Voter registration cancellations are on the rise this year as election officials clear a backlog of inactive voters in Georgia, a state known for removing a record-breaking 534,000 voter registrations in 2017.

“Georgia’s voter rolls are the cleanest in the nation, and list maintenance efforts like this ensure the integrity of our elections,” Raffensperger said.

The 191,473 registrations set for cancellation this year are an increase from the 101,000 that were removed during Georgia’s previous biennial list maintenance in 2021. The rising number of cancellations was expected because of a jump in the number of voters designated as “inactive” after their mail was undeliverable or their addresses changed.

Voting rights groups say they’re concerned that cancellations could disenfranchise legitimate registered voters who haven’t actually moved.

“Georgia is well-known for its wide-ranging and creative attempts at voter suppression,” New Georgia Project Action Fund CEO Kendra Cotton said. “Voting is a right. If someone chooses not to use it, that doesn’t mean they lose it.”

Of the 191,473 registrations set for cancellation, 55% of them were inactive because election mail sent to their address was undeliverable by the U.S. Postal Service, according to the cancellation list made public by the secretary of state’s office.

The remaining 45% were inactive because they filled out a national change of address form.

The voting rights group Fair Fight Action said voters of color are disproportionately affected by the cancellations. Voters of color make up 51% of those being canceled while they represent 49% of all registered voters in Georgia.

“Voters who are on the purge list are among the hardest to reach populations,” Fair Fight spokeswoman Xakota Espinoza said. “As we’ve seen happen before, many voters will arrive at the polls only to discover they’re no longer registered voters.”

Under Georgia law, voters are declared “inactive” after five years of failing to participate in elections, contact election officials, respond to election officials’ mail or update their registrations. Then their registrations are voided if they miss the next two general elections.

The planned cancellations represent 2% of the state’s 8 million registered voters.

Georgia participates in a multistate collaboration called the Electronic Registration Information Center, an information-sharing effort to determine when voters have moved from one state to another or died. Eight Republican-led states have recently quit ERIC, but Raffensperger has said he’s committed to the organization’s effort to identify outdated voter registrations.

So far this year, election officials in Georgia have canceled 75,676 voter registrations because of deaths or out-of-state moves, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Georgia voters can verify and update their registration information online at

Georgia voter registration cancellations

2017: 534,000

2019: 287,000

2021: 101,000

2023 (planned): 191,000