Voter purging draws new criticism

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – There was some renewed controversy Thursday about voter purges which the Secretary of State’s office says is more accurately “registration cancellations.”

Whatever you call the process, it continues to be the subject of legal action. Monday, following a hearing in federal court, the state purged the names of about 309,000 voters from the rolls.

Another hearing was scheduled before that same federal judge Thursday and a few hours before the afternoon court session, the Secretary of State’s Office announced that about 22,000 names (just purged Monday) would go back on the “inactive” list in an effort to allow voters more time to prove their registration status.

It didn’t take long before Fair Fight Action (the group suing the Secretary of State’s Office) took notice of the announcement calling it an “11th-hour admission from Raffensperger” and saying that “massive errors in this week’s voter purge should send chills down the spine of every Georgian who cares about voting rights.”

The state says the registrations of many voters were canceled because information on the voter registration card doesn’t match their driver’s license or because people have moved out of state. However, it’s also estimated by Fair Fight that at least 100,000 voters were purged because they had not voted since 2012. Fair Fight says your vote should not be a “use it or lose it proposition” and that the registrations of those voters should be reinstated immediately.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told us when was in Savannah last week that this review is not about keeping anyone from voting but rather to establish a clean voting list. “And so we just want to make sure we capture accurate information,” he said. “We want to make sure people are on active voter rolls and they actually live where they say they live.”

The Secretary of State’s office points out that Georgia is one of nine states where legislation calls for voters names to be canceled from rolls after inactivity in several election cycles.

Raffensperger also told us he supported recently passed legislation that allowed people even more time (not to vote) before their names could be purged.

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