851 voters in Decatur County face cancellation

Published 2:45 pm Friday, November 1, 2019

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More than 850 voters who have been listed as “inactive” status for more than three years and have had no contact with election officials may have their voter registration cancelled.

The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office is making routine and legally required updates to Georgia’s voter file that will reduce the size of the voter roll by 4 percent statewide. The statewide list contains 313,243 records, or about 4 percent of Georgia’s total number of registered voters. In Decatur County, 851 voters out of 17,122 are on the list to be cancelled if they fail to update their status.

These updates are required by federal and state law in order to ensure that the state has the most up-to-date voter information.

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“Election security is my top priority,” said Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “Accurate and up-to-date voter rolls are vital to secure elections, but at the same time I want to ensure that anyone potentially affected by this routine process has notice and opportunity to update their information. That is why my office is releasing the full list to ensure that people who are still eligible voters can update their information.”

The Georgia General Assembly passed additional laws in 2019 requiring election officials to mail a personalized notice to the last known address of people prior to removing them from the voter rolls due to a change in address. The statewide list of voters is on the Secretary of State’s website.

Next week, election officials will mail a notice to the last known address of people who have been in “inactive” status for more than three years and had no contact with election officials during that time. A registration is moved to “inactive” status when the person fails to respond to a pre-addressed, postage paid confirmation card asking them to confirm or update their information. The confirmation card is required to be sent to people who have filed a National Change of Address Card with the U.S. Postal Service indicating that they have moved to a new address, had election mail returned as undeliverable, or did not have any contact with election officials (including not voting) for the three prior years.

The process started under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, signed into federal law by then-President Bill Clinton. Additional laws were passed in Georgia regarding list maintenance in 1994 by a Democrat majority General Assembly and signed into law by a Democrat Governor. Lastly, these laws were implemented by a Democrat Georgia Secretary of State.

Both federal and state law require election officials to conduct list maintenance on registration records where the person has died or moved to a different address. Georgia law specifically requires elections officials to remove registration records that have been in “inactive” status for two general elections and have had no contact with election officials during that time.

Raffensperger is initiating an additional feature beyond the notice required by the 2019 law. As a convenience to those on the list, the notice they get in the mail will include a postage-paid postcard that they can simply sign and drop into any mailbox, no stamps required. He also decided to post the list online.

Anyone can search the list of registrations that are subject to cancellation. Only information that is public pursuant to state law is included. If your name is on the list and you are still an eligible Georgia voter, you can simply update your registration at https://registertovote.sos.ga.gov or contact your county elections office. You may also respond to the confirmation card that will be included with the notice, but keep in mind that the notice is mailed to your last known address of your voter registration, which may not be accurate if you have moved and not updated your registration. Any registered voter can check their registration information to confirm it is accurate and up-to-date at https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov.

Contact is usually is in the form of voting – either in person or absentee, but updating their registration, signing a petition, or requesting an absentee ballot also counts. Renewing or updating their driver’s license will also count as a contact with election officials unless the person opts out.

The list of registrations subject to cancellation can be viewed here: https://sos.ga.gov/admin/uploads/sites/32/2019_NGE_List.xlsx

How a registration becomes subject to cancellation

Step 1:

A registered voter files a change of address request with the U.S. Postal Service or Official election mail is returned undeliverable or

A person has no contact with elections officials for three years. Contact can be in the form of voting in any election or primary, signing a petition, updating voter registration, or renewing or changing a driver’s license.

Step 2:

Not responding to a confirmation letter mailed by the county voter registrar.

Step 3:

Having no contact with voter registration for two additional general elections, meaning not voting in any election or primary, signing a petition, updating voter registration or renewing or changing a driver’s license.

Step 4:

Failing to respond within 30 days of the notice which they are being sent by either

a.  returning the attached postage-paid postcard they will receive or

b.  updating their registration

1.  on registertovote.sos.ga.gov

2.  smartphone app, or

3.  visiting their county voter registrar’s office.