A new plan from election officials in Georgia to purge nearly 200,000 registered voters is being decried as the latest attempt at “voter suppression” from a state with a deep history of disenfranchising the civil rights of particularly its Black and brown residents.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced on Tuesday his intention to drop 191,000 people from the state rolls even though they are registered voters, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The same man who accused former President Donald Trump of pressuring him to “find” votes that would have prevented Joe Biden from winning the 2020 election is now taking steps that could have vast implications both immediately on a local level as well as for next year’s general national elections. Georgia has an election next month.
The majority of voters being targeted by the purge have been declared “inactive” after election materials mailed to their given address were not able to be delivered, said Raffensperger, whose job entails overseeing elections in Georgia. The others allegedly never officially changed their addresses. Both are violations punishable by their removal from voting rolls, Raffensperger said.
On Wednesday, civil rights leaders ripped Raffensperger’s plans as just another in a long line of efforts by his predecessor and current Gov. Brian Kemp to make voting in Georgia harder for its citizens.
“Voting is a right,” New Georgia Project Action Fund CEO Kendra Cotton said in a statement emailed to NewsOne on Wednesday morning. “If someone chooses not to use it, that doesn’t mean they lose it. The officials who oversee our elections—and I will remind everyone that they are elected by us—should be concerned with fully funding our elections administration, expanding access to the ballot box, and encouraging folks to participate in our democracy, rather than kicking them out of it.”
Cotton also reminded everyone that “Georgia is well-known for its wide-ranging and creative attempts at voter suppression.”
That is especially true when it comes to voter purges.
Back in 2021, Raffensberger ordered local agencies to send notices to 185,666 voters as a last step before officials label a voter inactive. The announcement came on the same day voting rights groups commemorated the 56th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.
Two months before that — just days before an election — Raffensperger similarly made the names public of about 102,000 registered voters who he said had moved or hadn’t voted in recent elections.
Aside from voter purges, perhaps the most notorious instance of alleged voter suppression in Georgia came in 2018. That was when Kemp was elected governor over Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams in an election replete with “dirty tricks” such as faulty voter machines in predominately Black polling places and, yes, a massive voter purge shortly before Election Day.
This is America.
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