The Georgia Secretary of State’s office has released a list of Georgia voters that will be removed from the rolls later this year if they do not vote or respond to official election mail.
In all, 313,243 names of registered voters, or 4% of the state’s voter roll, are on the spreadsheet published Wednesday. A new state law means that in addition to this public list, those inactive voters set to be purged from the rolls will be notified by mail before being removed.
About 109,000 voters are inactive because they did not respond to a postcard sent by the state after moving. Close to 85,000 voters are on the list because election-related mail was returned as undeliverable and nearly 122,000 registrations are set to be canceled after being declared inactive under the state’s controversial no-contact or “use-it-or-lose-it” law.
GPB News has published a copy of the state's list with the address columns removed into a searchable spreadhseet document.
SEARCH THE VOTER LIST FOR YOUR NAME
STEP 1: Open the list at this link http://bit.ly/InactiveVoters
STEP 2: Wait for the list to load. Watch the progress bar, top right.
STEP 3: Start search with the Command + F
STEP 4: Enter your last name in the search box and look through records for your full name
IMPORTANT: You can double check with the State of Georgia's source data.
Street addresses have been redacted in our version to protect privacy.
The secretary of state’s office stressed that voters who are on this list and still want to stay on the rolls have several options to move to active status, including voting in Tuesday’s municipal elections.
“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,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement. “That is why my office is releasing the full list to ensure that people who are still eligible voters can update their information.”
Many of the voters on the cancelation list have not voted or registered to vote since before the Nov. 2012 election.
Georgians that are facing cancellation were moved to inactive status if they had “no contact” with elections officials after three years. That means they did not vote in elections, update their registrations or have any contact with elections officials, then failed to respond to a letter sent by elections officials.
A law passed this year lengthens the time period to be declared inactive to five years.
From there, updated state law says inactive voters who don’t participate in elections or make changes to their registrations for two general elections after being declared inactive will get a final letter to the last known address notifying them of the cancellation if they do not respond.
O.C.G.A. § 21-2-235 (b) An elector placed on the inactive list of electors shall remain on such list until the day after the second November general election held after the elector is placed on the inactive list of electors. If the elector makes no contact, as defined in Code Section 21-2-234, during that period, the elector shall be removed from the inactive list of electors. Not less than 30 nor more than 60 days prior to the date on which the elector is to be removed from the inactive list of electors, the board of registrars shall mail a notice to the address on the elector's registration record.
The inactive voter then has 40 days to respond to that letter, update or change their voter registration online or cast a ballot to move into active status and avoid having their registration canceled.
This does not impact an eligible voter’s ability to re-register to vote ahead of any elections in 2020.
Federal and state law also says the list maintenance must be completed “no later than 90 days prior to … a presidential preference primary.” Since Georgia’s primary is March 24, 2020, the maintenance of the voter rolls must be completed by Dec. 24.
The attention paid to the number of voters that could be removed comes as new additions to the voter rolls have exploded. Over 350,000 new voter registrations have been processed since the 2018 midterm election, more than the 313,000 inactive voters set to have their registrations cancelled.
The secretary of state’s office has attributed that growth to the success of automatic voter registration that occurs when Georgians interact with the Department of Driver Services, and said Georgia has been the leader in registering voters through that system.
Georgia is now the second state to release a list of inactive voter registrations ahead of scheduled cancellations.
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose shared his state’s list of about 230,000 inactive voters with a number of community partners earlier this year, and about 40,000 registrations were saved from removal.
Now that the list is public, Georgia-based organizations are mobilizing to contact voters on the list to make sure active registered voters do not have their registrations cancelled.
“Stripping an individual’s right to vote simply because they choose not to exercise it is anti-democratic,” said Sara Tindall Ghazal who works as the Voter Protection Director for the Democratic Party of Georgia. “The Democratic Party of Georgia is committed to making sure that every one of these affected voters will retain their access to the ballot, and our voter protection team will contact every one of these individuals to ensure that their vote is counted.”
In an email to supporters, CEO of Fair Fight Action Lauren Groh-Wargo said her organization would be working to keep tabs on the list as well.
“Given the long history of voter suppression in the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, [Secretary of State] Raffensperger has a responsibility to guarantee that not a single voter is wrongly included on the purge list,” she wrote. “Fair Fight is committed to holding the Secretary of State's office accountable and conducting our own efforts to notify voters so they can take the necessary steps to stay on the rolls.”
Ways to get off the purge list
-Vote in the Tuesday, Nov. 5 municipal elections
-Return a postage-paid form received in the mail
-Change your address online
-Re-register to vote online
To see if you are on the list of inactive voters that will have their registrations canceled, click here.
To check your voter registration status, or to update your voter registration, click here.