The left is playing up a political activist’s story that Brian Kemp, Georgia’s Secretary of State and the Republican gubernatorial nominee, is cancelling voter registrations in order to “steal” the election in Georgia. It is simply not true.
In fact, federal law requires that states purge their voter rolls of voters who have moved or died. Because no one ever calls the local Board of Elections to say they’ve moved, died, gone to jail, etc. the several states have had to create a system to verify voters are still eligible to vote. Georgia automated its system in 2012 and only activates it in odd numbered years when there are no federal races or statewide races in play. The hysteria over Kemp is actually the hysteria over a long process that is mostly automated.
Here’s how it works in Georgia.
Under state law, every voter is sent a card notifying them of their precincts. Every few years, these cards go out to update voters. If the post office returns the mail to the Board of Elections noting the voter has moved, the local Board of Elections trusts the federal government and removes the voter from the list of registered voters in that precinct. Otherwise, if a voter has made no contact with elections officials for three years by either voting or filling out paperwork, the Secretary of State is required by law to send the voter a postcard with a pre-paid return slip. The voter must fill it out and return it to indicate that the voter is still in residence at their address.
If the voter does not return that pre-paid postcard slip, the voter is listed as inactive. But the voter is eligible to continue voting and immediately and automatically moves back to the active voter list once the voter has either made contact with the Board of Elections or voted.
However, if the voter does not then vote for another four years or otherwise have contact with the local Board of Elections, the voter will have his voter registration paperwork cancelled.
In other words, the 300,000+ people you are hearing about who have had their registration cancelled have not voted in seven years or otherwise made contact with elections officials during that time despite the state trying to contact them.
Additionally, the Secretary of State only cancels voter registrations during odd numbered years. So Brian Kemp has cancelled zero voter registrations this year except at the request of county Boards of Elections. Those county Boards of Elections continue to cancel voter registrations, but they do so for very specific reasons including death, conviction of a felony, duplicate registrations, voluntary requests, and declarations of mental incapacity.
Lastly, federal law prohibits the state from canceling voter registrations through a system within 90 days of any election. That means that individual voters can have their registrations canceled for conviction of a felony, etc., but the state cannot run any process through a system to remove multiple voters at one time within 90 days of any election.
Brian Kemp has not canceled voter registrations this year outside of those who have died, been convicted of a felony, or been declared mentally incompetent. And the voters whose voter registration cards were cancelled have not voted in seven years.