Federal Judge First Blocks, Then Allows Purge of Georgia Voter Rolls
A federal judge said he will allow Georgia to begin a sweeping purge of its voter rolls Monday, just hours after he initially put the potential removal of more than 300,000 inactive voter registrations on hold.
U.S. District Judge Steve Jones, an appointee of President Barack Obama presiding in Atlanta, had ruled Monday morning that the removals should be put on hold and that he would further consider the issue on Thursday.
But he later decided to hold the hearing Monday afternoon and ruled the voter cancellation can move forward.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced in October that the registrations of about 313,000 were at risk of being cancelled. That number represents roughly four percent of the state’s total registered voters.
Notices were sent to the last known addresses of the voters, giving them 30 days to respond and hold on to their current registration.
Walter Jones, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, said the purge would take place overnight Monday into Tuesday.
Fair Fight Action, a voting rights group founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams asked U.S. District Judge Steve Jones to “maintain the status quo.”
The organization argued that the purge is premised on an old state law that requires voters to be purged from the rolls after seven years of inactivity. A new law allows nine years of activity before being removed.
The difference could affect the registration of about 120,000 voters, the group said.
“Georgians should not lose their right to vote simply because they have not expressed that right in recent elections, and Georgia’s practice of removing voters who have declined to participate in recent elections violates the United States Constitution,” Fair Fight Action CEO Lauren Groh-Wargo said in a statement.
Lawyers for the group could not immediately be reached Monday afternoon.
Voter purges became a central issue in the race for governor between Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp in 2018.
Kemp, who served as secretary of state before being elected governor, purged over 1.4 million voter registrations in Georgia between 2012 and 2018.
The high-water mark in this activity came in July 2017, when Georgia purged some 534,119 voter registrations — purportedly the largest removal of voters in U.S. history.
The secretary of state’s office maintains that the purge is necessary to ensure the accuracy of voter lists and limit confusion and delays at polling places on Election Day.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that similar vote registration removals in Ohio were legal.
In The News
Eighteen members of Congress on Wednesday announced the formation of a new Congressional Caucus whose intent is to ensure that the priorities and concerns of cities and counties across America are heard on Capitol Hill. The bipartisan Congressional Caucus of Former Local Elected Officials was formed... Read More
Thirty-five states are at extreme or high risk of partisan gerrymandering, according to an in-depth report by the nonpartisan RepresentUs organization. The Gerrymandering Threat Index rates all 50 states, and its authors argue their findings underscore the urgent need to pass the redistricting reforms within the... Read More
WASHINGTON - A bipartisan bill to extend the Paycheck Protection Program to May 31 is gaining support in the House and the Senate and will likely be voted on before lawmakers head back to their districts at the end of the month. The proposal to extend... Read More
WASHINGTON - It’s hard to believe it’s almost that time of year again, but on Monday came word that the peak bloom for the cherry blossoms ringing the Tidal Basin in Washington is currently expected to occur April 2-5. That means the most vivid of blooms... Read More
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Josh Venable, a longtime Michigan GOP operative and chief of staff to former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, can trace the arc of the state's Republican Party clearly."This was the state where to be Republican was defined by Gerald Ford and George... Read More
NEW YORK (AP) — Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. fought for a year and a half to get access to former President Donald Trump's tax records.Now, thanks to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, he will soon have them. But what will that mean for... Read More