ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Several voter rights organizations say Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger wrongfully purged more than 200,000 voter registrations from the system last year.
Black Voters Matter Fund, Transformative Justice Coalition and the Rainbow Push Coalition filed a lawsuit against Raffensperger, calling the issue a form of voter suppression. “It is unjust and unfair for those people to be dropped from the voting rolls,” said LaTosha Brown, the co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund.
It all stems from an ACLU report connected to the Palast Investigative Fund, a group known for looking into voter purges.
“Let’s not call it a purge. It is federally mandated list maintenance,” said Statewide Voting System Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling, during his response to a question on the issue at a Wednesday press conference. “No one’s getting purged, and let’s be very clear on this. Your name remains on our books. If you move away from Georgia and you move back, you get the same ID number.”
Sterling says there are several ways voters get placed on the inactive list: they die, the National Change of Address system shows they have moved or they fail to respond to the county’s returned mail notification. He says it then takes several years before they’re moved to a cancelled status.
“One of our chief allegations in this suit is that they failed to follow the federal mandate,” said Transformative Justice Coalition President and Founder Barbara Arnwine.
“There should have been a licensee vendor who actually verified the list, and what we discovered is that the Secretary of State’s office did not use the required licensing vendor,” Brown said.
The groups say the answer is simple. “If you took them off the list, you can put them back on the list,” Arnwine said.
A court hearing is scheduled for December 10. The organizations are urging voters to check their registration statuses on the My Voter Page website ahead of the December 7 registration deadline.