Federal Judge First Blocks, Then Allows Purge of Georgia Voter Rolls

December 17, 2019 by Dan McCue

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

Health

Voting

State News

Once the Mainstream Model, Michigan GOP Embraces Right Wing
In The States
Once the Mainstream Model, Michigan GOP Embraces Right Wing

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

What NY Prosecutors Could Learn from Trump's Tax Records
In The States
What NY Prosecutors Could Learn from Trump's Tax Records

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

Indian Country Gripped by Haaland Hearing for Top US Post
Political News
Indian Country Gripped by Haaland Hearing for Top US Post

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — For Native Americans, Deb Haaland is more than an elected official on track to become the first Indigenous secretary of the Interior Department. She is a sister, an auntie and a fierce pueblo woman whose political stances have been molded by her... Read More

Northam to Sign Death Penalty Repeal Bill
In The States
Northam to Sign Death Penalty Repeal Bill
February 22, 2021
by TWN Staff

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia lawmakers gave final approval Monday to a bill that will end capital punishment in the Commonwealth. The legislation now heads to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who has said he will sign it into law, making Virginia the 23rd state to stop executions.... Read More

Robinhood in the Hot Seat
Congress
Robinhood in the Hot Seat
February 19, 2021
by Victoria Turner

The decision by the online brokerage firm Robinhood to impose restrictions on customer trading at the high point of last month’s online trading frenzy was brought under scrutiny at Thursday’s hearing of the House Financial Services Committee. While Robinhood insists that its decision did not favor... Read More

Inslee Taps Feds for $2.2 Billion in Relief Funds
In The States
Inslee Taps Feds for $2.2 Billion in Relief Funds
February 19, 2021
by TWN Staff

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday approved the appropriation of $2.2 billion federal funding earmarked to help move the state from COVID-19 pandemic to a lasting recovery. House Bill 1368, which the governor signed Friday afternoon, draws from a pool of funding the federal government allocated to... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top