Judge dismisses suit alleging Georgia wrongly bumped voters off rolls


A federal judge in Atlanta late Friday dismissed a lawsuit that had accused Secretary of State Brian Kemp of illegally bumping Georgia voters off the state’s rolls ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

In the 21-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr. said the state had taken a “reasonable and nondiscriminatory” approach in trying to reach voters who had not cast a recent ballot to confirm their addresses.

Under state law, registered voters are mailed a confirmation notice following a more than three-year period of “no contact” with election officials. If voters do not respond to the notice within thirty days, they are designated as inactive — something that does not prevent them from voting and does not change their registration status.

If voters then remain inactive for two federal election cycles, meaning they have not voted or had contact with election officials for at least another four years, they are removed from voting rolls.

The suit filed early last year by the Georgia NAACP and government watchdog group Common Cause claimed the state’s “trigger” for contacting voters violated federal voting laws including the National Voter Registration Act. They argued voters had a constitutional right not to vote, and state officials could not legally demand confirmation of address if they had no reason to believe a voter had moved other than that they had not cast a ballot.

Batten, however, said nothing in federal law prohibited the method used by Georgia to determine when to send out confirmation notices to voters. More so, “maintenance of accurate voter registration rolls is a substantial governmental interest,” he wrote. “Georgia’s statute is designed to serve that interest, and it does nothing to limit the vast array of other avenues of political communication.”

Georgia’s law had been cleared for use by the U.S. Justice Department in 1997.


Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Georgia Politics

Georgia Senate meetings will be live-streamed after Thanksgiving
Georgia Senate meetings will be live-streamed after Thanksgiving

Beginning the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday, Georgians who are interested in watching state senators at work can live-stream committee meetings being held in the statehouse. Members of the Georgia Senate on Friday held a mock committee meeting led by Senate President Pro Tem David Shafer, R-Duluth, to test out the new wiring and equipment....
Atlanta mayor under fire amid debate over illegal immigration
Atlanta mayor under fire amid debate over illegal immigration

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is drawing fire from multiple sides in the hot-button debate over illegal immigration after recently announcing the city had joined a nationwide effort in finding legal help for immigrants facing deportation. When Reed announced the city’s new policy this month, he called Atlanta a “welcoming city that stands up...
The Right points to Franken as a symptom of the Left’s hypocrisy
The Right points to Franken as a symptom of the Left’s hypocrisy

The Right has always questioned Franken’s qualifications for the Senate. The revelations of sexual misconduct by the Minnesota  Democrat have added fuel to the fire. A roundup of editorials Friday takes a look at the issue. From The Boston Herald: It’s “physician heal thy self” when it comes to sexual harassment in Congress...
In the light of the news about Al Franken, will the Left own its own sexual misconduct issues?
In the light of the news about Al Franken, will the Left own its own sexual misconduct issues?

Will Sen. Al Franken’s conduct call into question Democrats’ commitment to championing women who have been sexually harassed? A roundup of editorials Friday takes a look at the issue. The Week: Do the Democrats take sexual harassment seriously? We’ll see. From The New Yorker: As the two apologies from Franken show, men still need...
The Week: A Moore win in Alabama could thrust Isakson into spotlight
The Week: A Moore win in Alabama could thrust Isakson into spotlight

If Republican Roy Moore wins Alabama’s special election to the U.S. Senate next month, and if fellow senators choose to expel him from the chamber over accusations of sexual misconduct involving the candidate and teenagers when he was in his 30s — so a couple of huge “ifs” — Georgia U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson could...
More Stories