189K inactive voter registrations canceled in Georgia

Removals of outdated voter registrations finalized

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Georgia completed its biennial cancellation of inactive voter registrations Monday, with nearly 189,000 removed from the state’s voter rolls before next year’s presidential election.

The final number of cancellations was lower than previously announced because about 2,700 Georgians responded to notification letters or updated their registration information since July. Over 191,000 registrations were initially planned for cancellation.

The registration removals cover voters who election officials believe moved away from Georgia in recent years, either because they filled out a change of address form or their mail was undeliverable.

The 188,802 cancellations represent about 2% of the state’s registered voters. There are now under 7.9 million registered voters in Georgia.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the cancellations contribute to making Georgia “No. 1 for election integrity.”

“We’re using a multipronged strategy to ensure our voter rolls are the cleanest and most accurate in the nation, and this list maintenance activity is another example of that,” Raffensperger said.

Georgia conducts mass voter registration removals every other year in an effort to keep the state’s voter rolls up to date.

Registration cancellations have decreased in recent years as election officials gradually cleared backlogs of inactive voters. In 2017, Georgia removed a record 534,000 registrations at once after outdated registrations had accumulated over the previous years.

Voting rights groups say the cancellations, which they call “purges,” can disenfranchise legitimate registered voters who haven’t actually moved.

Of the 189,000 canceled registrations, 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 change of address form.

Almost no registrations were canceled this year under Georgia’s “use it or lose it” law, which removes registrations of people who haven’t participated in elections for several years. Court cases and changes to state laws delayed “use it or lose it” cancellations until 2025.

Under Georgia law, voters can be declared “inactive” when they appear to have moved out of the state, or five years after they last voted or contacted election officials. Then their registrations are voided if they miss the next two general elections.

Georgia voters can verify their registration information online at mvp.sos.ga.gov.

Eligible Georgians who aren’t registered to vote — including anyone whose registration has been canceled — can re-register before next year’s elections.

Georgia offers online voter registration and automatic voter registration at driver’s license offices. Registration forms are also available at county election offices, or they can be submitted by mail.

Georgia inactive voter registration cancellations

2017: 534,000

2019: 287,790

2021: 101,217

2023: 188,802