No noncitizen voters found in Georgia election review

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said a review by his office shows that citizenship precautions are working to prevent people who are not U.S. citizens from voting in the state. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

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Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said a review by his office shows that citizenship precautions are working to prevent people who are not U.S. citizens from voting in the state. (Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Georgia elections chief Raffensperger says only citizens can vote

Citizenship checks prevented any noncitizens from voting in recent elections in Georgia, though 1,634 people with unverified U.S. citizenship tried to register to vote, according to a review released Monday by state elections officials.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the review shows that citizenship precautions are working.

“We want to make sure that noncitizens aren’t voting in the state of Georgia,” said Raffensperger, a Republican seeking reelection this year. “Hopefully, that’s another allegation of 2020 we can put to rest. Noncitizens are not voting in the state of Georgia.”

The secretary of state’s office compared about 4,500 people whose registrations were pending citizenship verification with a federal program called Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements. Of those, 1,634 individuals’ citizenship couldn’t be confirmed through SAVE. Election officials will continue to investigate their citizenship status.

Georgians whose registrations are pending but have recently become U.S. citizens can cast a ballot if they provide documentation to county election officials. In some cases, it’s possible that state or federal citizenship records are out of date.

Raffensperger sought the review as he’s supporting efforts for a constitutional amendment that would permanently ban noncitizen voting, which isn’t allowed in Georgia but has been permitted for local elections in New York City and a handful of other cities.

A proposal to amend the Georgia Constitution to prevent the future possibility of noncitizen voting fell short of the two-thirds majority it needed to advance through the state Senate in January. State law already limits voting to U.S. citizens.