Georgia could purge 330,000 voter registrations before 2020

Georgia could purge 330,000 voter registrations before 2020
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Georgia could purge 330,000 voter registrations before the end of the year due to inactivity among voters who haven’t participated in elections in at least six years.

The secretary of state’s office on Monday announced plans to revise the voter list and potentially reduce voter rolls by 4 percent, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. A new state law requires officials to inform voters that their registration is at risk, giving them 30 days to respond and remain on the list.

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Georgia Elections Director Chris Harvey told the Atlanta newspaper that officials will send notices to the last known addresses of all inactive voters in early November. Their names will be taken off the registered voters list if they don’t respond with a postage-paid form. Those voters are also permitted to update their addresses or re-register online, mail a printed registration form or vote on Nov. 5.

Supporters of removing inactive voters told the Journal-Constitution it will allow the state to keep up-to-date records, while opponents argue the move will disenfranchise voters who may not have participated in past elections but want to cast a ballot in 2020.

In July 2017, Georgia ended 534,119 registrations in the largest removal of voters in U.S. history. About 1.4 million voters have been removed from the Georgia list since 2012 for various reasons: death, relocation out of state, felony conviction or non-participation on Election Day. 

The Supreme Court ruled last year that similar voter registration removals in Ohio were legal. State officials there released the names of the voters at risk of being removed earlier this month, then found out 40,000 of them should not have been included on the list.

Voters are designated inactive if they did not vote in the past five years, according to the Georgia law enacted this year. Previously, voters had three years before they were deemed inactive. Registrations are canceled if they do not vote in the two general elections after they become inactive, according to the Journal-Constitution.

Georgia election officials reportedly have not decided whether they will release the list of names in advance.

The Hill reached out to the Georgia secretary of state’s office for comment.