Amid lingering concerns over alleged fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) is taking action to prevent a potential repeat of similar allegations in the next major election cycle.
The top official in charge of Georgia’s elections announced Friday that his office intends to remove more than 100,000 “obsolete or outdated” voter files from the state’s registered voter rolls, the Washington Examiner reported.
The common-sense move — required every two years by state law — to remove ineligible voters from the system has nevertheless drawn fierce criticism from some who falsely characterized the effort as an illicit “purge” of legally registered and eligible voters.
The key to ensuring election “integrity”
According to a press release from Sec. Raffensperger’s office, a list of 101,789 names was published of registered Georgia voters who are believed to have moved out of state or been inactive for more than two election cycles, and are therefore now ineligible.
“Making sure Georgia’s voter rolls are up to date is key to ensuring the integrity of our elections,” Raffensperger said. “That is why I fought and beat Stacey Abrams in court in 2019 to remove nearly 300,000 obsolete voter files before the November election, and will do so again this year. Bottom line, there is no legitimate reason to keep ineligible voters on the rolls.”
The statement broke down the 101,789 “obsolete or outdated” voter files as including 67,286 files that matched change of address forms at the U.S. Postal Service, 34,277 files that had election mail returned to the sender, and 276 files in which no contact or voting activity had been made for the past five years.
Raffensperger also revealed that he’d already removed 18,486 files of voters who had died, as per information compiled by Georgia’s Office of Vital Records and the interstate partnership Electronic Registration Information Center.
Voters can challenge
Local media outlet WSB-TV reported that eligible voters who believe they’ve been erroneously included on that list have 40 days to take action to ensure they aren’t removed.
However, even if they are ultimately removed from the voter rolls, they can simply re-register and become eligible again in a matter of moments.
Of the published list, Raffensperger told the outlet: “These people don’t live in Georgia anymore. Then you have 18,000 people who passed. So they are not going to be voting anymore. You need to have accurate voter rolls and proper list maintenance. It also helps your county election directors.”
Activists intend to fight back
As noted, the announcement was sharply criticized and characterized as an illegal “purge” of otherwise eligible voters by some voting rights advocates, such as Gerald Griggs of the Atlanta chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), who had unsuccessfully fought a similar cleaning of the voter rolls in 2019 that had removed roughly 300,000 ineligible voters.
“We already have lawyers on standby, I am on standby, just in case we have to file litigation,” Griggs told WSB-TV. “So we are going to be watching this and we will respond if we believe voters have been disenfranchised.”