Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill this week that fixes the most problematic parts of Georgia’s failed ‘exact match’ system.
The system placed more than 50,000 voter registrations on hold before the 2018 elections because of discrepancies between government records. A coalition of Georgia civil rights groups – represented by Campaign Legal Center and others – sued prior to the 2018 election and won. The voters were returned to the rolls, but this law makes the change permanent.
Georgia’s abandonment of this failed program is long overdue, and should provide relief to voters, who can go to the polls knowing that discrepancies or typos on government documents will not deny them the right to vote.
The failed exact match program put voters’ registrations in jeopardy for reasons as benign as hyphenated last names, minor typos or data entry errors. Voters will no longer have their registration canceled because of such minor discrepancies; they will be fully registered and treated exactly the same as other voters.
Under the new law, voter registration applicants flagged for discrepancies between DMV and voting records will be fully registered to vote but must produce proof of identity to a poll official before voting. Like all Georgia voters on Election Day, this means they must show photo ID to a poll official before they cast a ballot.
While this is a step forward, Georgia is continuing to match voter registration data against outdated Department of Drivers Services (DDS) records. This means the fight for ballot access is far from over in Georgia