UPDATE: Who Are The 75,000 People On Georgia’s ‘Pending’ List?

Oct 23, 2018

The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office says there are 75,000 total voter registration applications that are “pending” as of Oct. 17.

That’s according to a full analysis the office did following an Oct. 9 report from the Associated Press about the list, one of many pieces of Georgia’s voting system that has been highlighted and litigated ahead of this November’s contentious race for governor between Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams.

But of that 75,000, the secretary of state’s office says about 28,000 of those include applications with things like made up addresses or duplicate registrations, the applicant is too young to vote, or has correct information but is not a U.S. citizen.

According to a records analysis the secretary of state’s office completed, that leaves 46,946 pending records that do not exactly match either the state Department of Driver Services database or the federal Social Security Administration database.

The state’s “exact match” law has been in effect since 2017, and is almost identical to a settlement stemming from a 2016 lawsuit over a similar verification process.  

These applicants can still vote in the election, provided they correct the problems with their registration. According to the secretary of state’s office, almost 75 percent of those pending voters used paper voter registration forms that did not match the SSA database, and 23 percent of them were submitted in the 2014 election cycle. The difference is that people on the “pending” list have 26 months from when they are first added to clear up discrepancies and have their registration become active.

The pending applicants include people with mismatched names, addresses and Social Security numbers among other things.

That includes names like “Jesus Christ,” “Magic Mike,” and “Badeye,” as well as people using churches, university buildings and other non-residential addresses as their own.

The SSA database does not give a specific reason for what part of a registration does not match.

In addition to noting pending applications does not prevent someone from voting in this November’s election, the secretary of state’s office also said data on registrations and demographics show pending voters are an isolated exception to the voter registration process.

From 2010 to Oct. 23, Georgia’s active voter rolls increased by 1.4 million people, or 27.7 percent. That includes 462,409 new black voters and 351,296 new white voters.

And county officials have processed more than 6 million voter registration forms since 2013, meaning these pending voters represent less than one percent of registrations processed in that time.

The original story about 53,000 pending voters based on a Sept. 17 Open Records Request from the Associated Press is below.

Much has been written about the pending list for Georgians whose voter registration is on hold. That’s because their registration forms do not align with the state Department of Driver Services or federal Social Security Administration databases. But who are these Georgians and how can they get off the list?

On Oct. 9, the Associated Press published a story about the list, without mentioning that those who find themselves pending can still vote in the election, including via absentee, if they show proof of their identification. According to state law, if no action is taken within 26 months of being added to the pending list, a voter registration application can be canceled.

The story also analyzes data from the secretary of state’s office that nearly 70 percent of the people on the list are African-American. 

GPB News has also obtained that data used for that AP story, and found more context to who was on that list and why they were marked pending.

The list used in the AP’s reporting was current as of Sept. 17, 2018. At that time, 53,266 voters were on the pending list. Just over 38,000 of those on the list submitted their registration before the 2016 presidential election, and nearly a quarter of the list tried to register before the November 2014 midterms.

Most of the registrations on that list were pending because of “SSN Verification,” which means that at least some form of identifying information did not match the Social Security Administration database.  

About 3,000 applications were flagged with “citizenship verification,” meaning information with the Department of Driver’s Services indicated they did not have U.S. citizenship.

In a lawsuit filed last week, a coalition of civil rights groups contend many of these applicants may be naturalized U.S. citizens who have not had their records updated with the DDS system.

What race are the pending voters as of Sept. 17?

240 (0.5 percent) are American Indian or Alaskan Native

2,309 (4.3 percent) are Asian or Pacific Islander

37,033 (69.5 percent) are Black not of Hispanic origin

3,509 (6.6 percent) are Hispanic

1,703 (3.2 percent) are Other

3,374 (6.3 percent) are Unknown

5,098 (9.6 percent) are White not of Hispanic origin

When did they submit their registrations?

9,106 (17.1 percent) registrations were submitted in 2018

4,509 (8.5 percent) registrations were submitted in 2017

24,285 (45.6 percent) registrations were submitted in 2016

2,009 (3.8 percent) registrations were submitted in 2015

12,817 (24.1 percent) registrations were submitted in 2014

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38,820 (72.9 percent) people registered before the November 2016 presidential election

12,395 (23.3 percent) people registered before the November 2014 midterm election

Why were the voters on the Sept. 17 list marked pending?

3,043 (5.7 percent) registrations were pending solely because of “Citizenship Verification”

9,992 (18.8 percent) registrations were pending solely because of “DDS Verification”

32,297 (60.6 percent) registrations were pending solely because of “SSN Verification”

934 (1.8 percent) registrations had multiple reasons, including Citizenship Verification, DDS Verification, SSN Verification, Incomplete Address, Incomplete DOB, Missing Information, No Signature, Pending Age

Where were some of these pending voters concentrated as of Sept. 17?

20,243 (38.0 percent) were from Fulton County

8,410 (15.8 percent) were from DeKalb County

3,924 (7.4 percent) were from Clayton County

3,190 (6.0 percent) were from Gwinnett County

3,011 (5.7 percent) were from Muscogee County

2,546 (4.8 percent)  were from Chatham County

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