Lawsuit Says Ga. Illegally Purging Voters From State Rolls

Feb 12, 2016

A nonprofit government watchdog group, Common Cause Georgia, and the Georgia NAACP have filed a federal lawsuit against Secretary of State Brian Kemp, alleging his office has illegally purged voters off state rolls ahead of the 2016 presidential race.

The two organizations criticize the Secretary of State’s practice of compiling lists of voters who haven’t cast ballots or “had other contact with the election system” in three consecutive years. Kemp’s office then sends those voters “confirmation of address” requests. Those voters are eventually moved to “inactive lists” if they don't respond.

Brinkley Serkedakis, the new head of Common Cause Georgia, says that policy is a violation of the National Voter Registration Act.

“This provision in Georgia's law needs to be corrected,” Serkedakis, said. “It's at odds with the federal law, and it's just going to continue reducing the size of the state's electorate, and that's not great for anybody.

In a statement, Kemp’s office called the lawsuit “completely without merit and frivolous.”

A spokesman said, “The Georgia Department of Law has clearly explained to plaintiff’s counsel multiple times that Georgia law is consistent [with the National Voting Rights Act]." 

In a letter from the office of the Attorney General describing the process, officials say a voter is only removed from the rolls if no contact has been made after two November general election cycles pass. The letter continues, "A voter is removed because they've had no contact with election officials in Georgia for a minimum of seven years," and have not confirmed their address.