By Kristina Torres
(July 31, 2017)
Georgia canceled the registration of more than a half-million voters over the weekend, part of an ongoing round of maintenance to clean up the state’s voting rolls.
Each of the 591,548 voters affected by the move had already been on the state’s “inactive” registration list. That means they had not voted, updated their voter registration information, filed a change of name or address, signed a petition or responded to attempts to confirm their last known address for at least the past three years.
None of the voters had had any contact with local election officials or the state since at least Sept. 16, 2014, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.
The date coincides with the early-voting period leading up to the midterm Nov. 4, 2014, general election. State and federal law requires that Georgia give voters at least two federal general election cycles before it can take action to remove voters from the rolls, as it did starting overnight Friday.
“Voter list maintenance is both a statutory obligation and critical safeguard for the integrity of the ballot box,” said Candice Broce, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s Office. “By regularly updating our rolls, we prevent fraud and ensure that all votes are cast by eligible Georgia voters.”
The effort was part of the state’s regular off-year maintenance of the rolls, which up until this weekend included about 6.9 million voters.
Georgia removed almost 732,800 voters in its previous round of rolls cleanup between 2014 and 2016, according to a recent report from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Three-quarters of these voters were dropped because they had moved away.