Georgia Knew Its Voter Roll Practice Was Discriminatory. It Stuck With It Anyway.
A Georgia process for verifying voters’ information has left the applications of over 53,000 people in jeopardy, and 70 percent of those applications are from black people, an Associated Press analysis published Tuesday found.
The stark disparity drew scrutiny because Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R), the state’s top elections official, is running for governor. He is locked in a tight race with Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic leader in the Georgia statehouse who, if elected, would be the first black woman to serve as a governor in the United States.
The reason so many voters’ registration status is considered incomplete is because the state requires the information in a new application to exactly match the way the potential voter’s name appears in a state driver’s license database or a federal Social Security database. Any small discrepancy, like a hyphen or varied spelling, puts someone’s registration in jeopardy.
Danielle Lang, senior counsel at Campaign Legal Center, which sued Georgia over the practice in 2016, said it’s easy to get a mismatch under the process. She pointed to a 2009 audit from the Social Security Administration’s inspector general that said matching voter records with a Social Security database produced inaccurate matching.
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