Federal Judge Won't Undo Ga. Voter Purge
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Thread: Federal Judge Won't Undo Ga. Voter Purge

  1. #1
    Ancient Gaseous Emanation Popeye's Avatar
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    Default Federal Judge Won't Undo Ga. Voter Purge

    27 December 2019


    A federal judge ruled Friday that he won't undo Georgia's efforts to remove almost 100,000 voters from its rolls.

    U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones ruled that a voting rights advocacy group founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams is improperly asking him to interpret state law. Jones also said the group hasn't proved that people who have been removed had their constitutional rights violated.

    However, Jones also ordered Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to do more to warn people that they're in danger of being removed. The judge is especially singling out a south Georgia state House district where a Jan. 28 special election is scheduled. Voters there who have been removed have only until Monday to re-register.

    Raffensperger in October released a list of over 313,000 voters whose registrations were at risk of being canceled. Fair Fight Action, a voting rights group, had asked for the purge to be halted.

    “Today Judge Jones upheld Georgia’s decision to maintain clean voter rolls. Despite activists’ efforts and lawsuits that only waste taxpayers’ dollars, Georgia is continuing to ensure every eligible voter can vote and voter lists remain accurate,” Raffensperger said in a statement.

    “Our efforts to protect Georgia voters have already resulted in approximately 26,500 voters remaining on the rolls who would have otherwise been purged, and the State is now required to take additional steps to notify purged voters as a result of our litigation," said Lauren Groh-Wargo, CEO of Fair Fight Action

    At issue is a Georgia law that says that voters should be moved to inactive status if they have no contact with the state for a period of time. Until earlier this year, the standard was three years of no contact, with voters then removed if they don't vote for another two general elections, a period of about seven years.

    However, the General Assembly amended the law in early 2019 to lengthen the no-contact period to five years, meaning voters have about nine years before their registrations are canceled. But the Republican Raffensperger went ahead with canceling registrations for people who were already on the inactive list instead of giving them two more years.

    Abrams' group didn't contest the removal of about 190,000 voters who had moved or to whom mail couldn't be delivered. However, it said removing a remaining 120,000 would be unfair because it would disenfranchise or burden them solely because they chose not to vote, and because people who were removed might not find out until they showed up to vote. It would be too late for them then because Georgia doesn't offer same-day registration.

    The state argues that House Bill 316 changed the length of time before a voter the inactive list, but changed nothing about what happens once a voter is on the inactive list.

    During the course of the litigation, the state put 20,000 more voters back on the inactive list after finding it was moving too soon to cancel their registration.

    Jones said it's not his role to interpret state law and that Fair Fight Action should seek a ruling for a state court.

    Voter purges in Georgia became a hot-button issue during last year’s race for governor between Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp, who won the race. Kemp served as secretary of state before being elected governor and oversaw aggressive voter purges during his tenure. Over 1.4 million voter registrations were canceled in Georgia between 2012 and 2018.




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  2. #2
    Ancient Gaseous Emanation Popeye's Avatar
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    RICK MORAN
    DECEMBER 28, 2019


    A federal judge ruled on Friday that the state of Georgia acted within the law by purging 98,000 voters from registration rolls who hadn't voted in 8 years or responded to a mailed notification letter.

    All told, Georgia purged nearly 300,000 people who were either inactive or did not respond to the mailer. Liberal groups fought the purge claiming it was unconstitutional.

    But the judge didn't see it that way.

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    Jones wrote in a 32-page order that the plaintiffs, led by the voting rights group Fair Fight Action, failed to show that the cancellations violated the U.S. Constitution. Jones wrote that the plaintiffs could still ask the Georgia Supreme Court to interpret the state law about inactive voters.In all, nearly 287,000 registrations were [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] this month because those registered either moved away or stopped participating in elections. An additional 22,000 inactive voters were initially removed but [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] by the secretary of state’s office because those voters had contacted election officials in early 2012, before the cancellation cut-off date.

    “Judge Jones upheld Georgia’s decision to continue to maintain clean voter rolls,” said Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “Despite activists’ efforts and lawsuits that only waste taxpayer dollars, Georgia is continuing to ensure every eligible voter can vote and voter lists remain accurate.”

    Voting is a right, but it's also a choice. If people choose not to vote, the state doesn't need to maintain their names on registration rolls indefinitely. Besides, if someone changes their mind, it's ridiculously easy in most states to re-register.

    Needless to say, purging the names of those who are dead or have moved out of the state is vital to maintaining the security of the vote.

    As for the group fighting the purge, they will continue looking for a friendly venue to challenge the state of Georgia's ability to run its own elections.

    “The court expressed its serious concern that there needs to be an immediate and accurate interpretation by the state court” of Georgia’s voter registration cancellation law, said Lauren Groh-Wargo, CEO of Fair Fight Action. “We urge the secretary of state to return the canceled voters immediately.”

    There was a new law passed by the legislature that could affect those 98,000 purged voters -- if the law is interpreted a certain way.

    A change in state law this year [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] before voters become “inactive” from three years to five years.Fair Fight Action argued that the new state law, [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], should apply to voters who were previously declared inactive.

    “The answer as to how HB 316 applies to the voters who were already on the state of Georgia’s inactive elector list … is not clear cut, and both plaintiffs and defendants have offered reasonable interpretations for how HB 316 affects the voters at issue,” Jones wrote. “… The court would be remiss not to express its serious concern that there needs to be an immediate and accurate interpretation by the state court of HB 316.”

    To my mind, it hardly matters. The extra two years doesn't make those voters any more likely to cast a ballot nor does it determine whether they're even alive or still living in Georgia.

    The purge doesn't disenfranchise anyone, it doesn't interfere with anyone's right to vote. It's a housekeeping measure that's a small move toward securing the vote.

    Too much, apparently, for some people.




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    It is about time! We need to ID all voters.
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    Senior Member NGF Addict! Ziggidy's Avatar
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    Didn't the USA put ink on the fingers of the Iraqi voters?

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