Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced that he is taking another step to update voter lists to safeguard election integrity. Georgia election officials are sending notifications this week to voter files that have registered no contact with Georgia’s election system for at least five calendar years.
Raffensperger instructed county election officials to mail no-contact notices to people. Their registrations will be classified as “inactive” if they do not respond within 30 days. These registrations are for people who have had no contact in the election system in the last five calendar years. None voted in last year’s general election or the runoff.
No contact means they have neither voted, requested an absentee ballot, or signed a petition. It also means they haven’t updated their registration by changing their address or renewed their driver’s license.
Inactive status does not prevent voters from casting a regular ballot as usual. Voters on the inactive list who try to vote will not realize they had been made inactive.
People receiving a notification can return it postage-free and avoid inactive status. Voter files that remain inactive for two more election cycles will be mailed another notice asking them to confirm their registration. Inactive voters who do not respond to the second notice will have their registration canceled.
News outlets discovered in the past that most of the people who haven’t had contact with the election system in five years have moved. It’s not surprising considering the U.S. Census Bureau estimates 250,000 people move into and out of Georgia every year.
Federal legislation signed into law by then-President Clinton in 1993 requires states to conduct regular maintenance of voter lists. It also prohibits states from canceling inactive voters until after two election cycles. It limits Georgia’s list maintenance to odd-numbered years when there are no federal elections scheduled.
Raffensperger has urged Congress to allow states to conduct more timely maintenance. Anyone can check the status of their registration at any time at mvp.sos.ga.gov. One can also make corrections, add their email address and cellphone number or register to vote on that site.
Georgia makes registration easy. It can be done online, automatically while getting or renewing a driver’s license, or by mail.
The entire list of newly classified inactive voters, including 1,469 names and addresses from Bartow County, is available online at https://sendsecure.sos.ga.gov/index.php/s/gF83heLx2VJmExU/authenticate. Password: `2Lq4NYD[_Wf#y3;
Next Thursday, we’ll have Bartow County Elections Supervisor Joseph Kirk on Bartow’s Morning News. He’ll discuss qualification that begins August 16th, what local offices are up for grabs, how you can run for office and more.