Democratic Candidates Text Georgia Voters Who May be Purged

November 22, 2019by Mark Niesse
Democratic Candidates Text Georgia Voters Who May be Purged

ATLANTA — Democratic presidential candidates sent text messages to some of the 313,000 people Thursday whose voter registrations could be canceled in Georgia, emphasizing their support for voting rights a day after their debate in Atlanta.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and entrepreneur Andrew Yang participated in a phone and text bank to prevent dormant voter registrations from being canceled next month.

Using a computer program to send dozens of text messages at a time, the candidates raced to reach as many voters on Georgia’s cancellation list as they could. When voters responded, the candidates interacted with them, looked up their registration information and told them how to re-register before it’s too late.

The candidates joined Stacey Abrams and her Fair Fight Action voting rights group at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was pastor.

“This is an assault on our democracy. This is what generations past have fought for,” Booker said. “The struggles of our past, the ground that was gained, a lot of that is being eroded right now. That’s unacceptable.”

Many of the people who responded to the text messages told the candidates they already moved away, but some are at risk of losing their registrations under Georgia’s “use it or lose it” law, which removes infrequent voters every other year.

About 121,000 of the registrations are being canceled for inactivity since 2012 or earlier; the other 192,000 either filed change-of-address forms or mail from election officials was returned as undeliverable.

Voter registration purges became a major issue in Georgia after the state canceled about 534,000 registrations in July 2017, the largest single removal of voters in U.S. history.

Republicans reject accusations that they’ve created barriers to voting, pointing to Georgia’s record 7.4 million registered voters and its automatic voter registration program, which signed up more than 700,000 new voters when they got their driver’s licenses over the past three years.

Klobuchar said legislation she’s introduced would prevent states from using someone’s failure to vote as a reason to remove them from voter rolls.

“Think of how ridiculous this is in 2019. Please tell me why you have to purge names of voters and you can’t figure this out,” Klobuchar said. “I think the easiest way to do this is register every kid when they’re eligible to vote when they turn 18.”

Buttigieg said voting rights are important because they affect every other issue once that elected officials decide once they’re in office.

“There are some in politics who have decided the best way for them to win is to ensure that not as many people get to vote,” Buttigieg said. “That’s why defending our elections is so critical.”

Since Abrams, a Democrat, lost to Republican Brian Kemp in last year’s election for governor, her supporters have rallied against voter registration cancellation laws like those in Georgia.

Several of the Democratic presidential candidates have said they believe Abrams would have won if not for laws that make it difficult to vote.

Election officials mailed letters last week to people whose registrations could be deleted, but that precaution isn’t adequate, Yang said. Voters have 30 days to return the postage-paid letter to preserve their registrations.

“Reaching out to folks and letting them know that their right to vote is somehow being questioned is a valuable public service,” Yang said. “Right now the notification process is not foolproof, and if you’re the average busy American, you’re not necessarily going to be keeping up with the information we have on file for you.”

This year’s round of cancellations represents 4% of the state’s 7.4 million registered voters. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger released the names of the voters who are scheduled for cancellation, and Fair Fight found some of their phone numbers.

Voter registrations can be canceled after three years of inactivity followed by no contact with election officials during the next two general elections.

Fair Fight is suing the state over the obstacles that voters faced at the polls last November, including the “use it or lose it” law, missing registrations, long lines, precinct closures and rejected ballots. That lawsuit is pending in federal court, with a trial scheduled for next year.

———

©2019 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)

Visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.) at www.ajc.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

A+
a-
  • candidates
  • Democrats
  • Georgia
  • text messages
  • voter purge
  • In The News

    Health

    Voting

    Voting

    May 28, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    85-Year-Old Convicted of Voting Twice in 2016 Election

    CONCORD, N.H. — An 85-year-old man has been convicted of one felony count of wrongful voting after a three-day jury... Read More

    CONCORD, N.H. — An 85-year-old man has been convicted of one felony count of wrongful voting after a three-day jury trial related to his voting twice in the 2016 presidential election. When he’s sentenced in July, Richard Rosen, the principal in an indoor salad greens growing... Read More

    Supreme Court Finds No Bias Against Black Voters in a South Carolina Congressional District

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court 's conservative majority on Thursday preserved a Republican-held South Carolina congressional district, rejecting a lower-court ruling... Read More

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court 's conservative majority on Thursday preserved a Republican-held South Carolina congressional district, rejecting a lower-court ruling that said the district discriminated against Black voters. In dissent, liberal justices warned that the court was insulating states from claims of unconstitutional racial gerrymandering. In... Read More

    After Blaming His 2020 Loss on Mail Balloting, Trump Tries to Make GOP Voters Believe It’s OK Now

    Marta Moehring voted the way she prefers in Nebraska's Republican primary Tuesday — in person, at her west Omaha polling... Read More

    Marta Moehring voted the way she prefers in Nebraska's Republican primary Tuesday — in person, at her west Omaha polling place. She didn’t even consider taking advantage of the state’s no-excuse mail-in ballot process. In fact, she would prefer to do away with mail-in voting altogether.... Read More

    Arizona Indicts 18 in Election Interference Case, Including Giuliani and Meadows

    PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona grand jury has indicted former President Donald Trump 's chief of staff Mark Meadows, lawyer Rudy Giuliani and 16 others... Read More

    PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona grand jury has indicted former President Donald Trump 's chief of staff Mark Meadows, lawyer Rudy Giuliani and 16 others for their roles in an attempt to overturn Trump’s loss to Joe Biden in the 2020 election. The indictment released Wednesday names 11 Republicans who submitted... Read More

    March 22, 2024
    by Tom Ramstack
    Judge Upholds DC Law Giving Noncitizens Voting Rights

    WASHINGTON — A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Thursday against the District of Columbia Board of Elections that sought to... Read More

    WASHINGTON — A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Thursday against the District of Columbia Board of Elections that sought to invalidate a law giving noncitizens a right to vote in local elections. The Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act would allow anyone who is a resident... Read More

    February 29, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    White House Steps Up Effort to Get Voting Information to the Public

    WASHINGTON — Emails, new signage and three “national days of action” are all part of a stepped up effort by... Read More

    WASHINGTON — Emails, new signage and three “national days of action” are all part of a stepped up effort by the Biden-Harris administration to ensure voters know their rights and are able to participate in 2024 elections. The initiatives are part of the administration’s ongoing effort... Read More

    News From The Well
    scroll top