The Forsyth County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections has started a “purge” of county voters who have certain incorrect information on file, including those with commercial addresses listed as residential locations.
On Tuesday morning, the board discussed a list of 46 names that were generated by voter registration staff after repeated attempts to contact the individuals failed, according to Barbara Luth, department supervisor.
The 46 names are in addition to 8,650 other Forsyth voters the Georgia Secretary of State office recently removed from the state list for having no activity for at least the last two general elections.
“In our office, we do not take deleting voters lightly at all,” Luth said. “There has been much research done by numerous staff members and other county departments, and there have been numerous letters that have been sent to these voters trying to get them to correct their information before it has gotten to this point.”
Mandi Smith largely oversaw the removal process.
“What we’ve done is break it up into two basic types of lists,” she said. “There are 18 names on the [first] list, and under findings [it says], ‘This appears to be the address point for a commercial post office box and/or for a business, not a resident’s address.’
“The [addresses] are points where it’s United States Postal Service boxes, Mail Boxes Etc., The Shipping Post, places like that. Anyone who’s already been cancelled or resolved their issues has been taken off this list.”
The second list, which contains 28 names, identifies those who have an address registered that perhaps used to be a residential location but now either does not exist or is a commercial structure, like a mall.
“In the course of doing research, you come across somebody, you double check it and realize, wait, 3240 Keith Bridge Road — there’s no house there,” Smith said. “Back in the day, there used to be houses at many of these points and people were validly registered to vote there. Time passed, houses got torn down and commercial property went up.
“We didn’t always catch on [to that], and as long as someone is registered to vote at that address in the statewide voter registration [system], until we do something about that address, the system will continue to allow us to register people there.”
Smith said the elections and voter department worked with the Forsyth County Tax Assessor’s Office to identify any address a voter may have on file, some of whom had as many as six different addresses listed.
In the course of identifying voters with incorrect information, Smith said the department made several contact attempts.
“The first letter for almost everybody went out April 4 or 5,” she said. “The next round of letters went out around July 4-6, right around that area. For those people that actually have six possible addresses, they got up to six possible letters in April and another six in July.
“We have made every effort and attempt to contact them and the letter, I think, is pretty good. It’s basically just letting people know that, periodically, we review the roll for discrepancies, and your record was flagged as having a possible discrepancy, and we ask for your assistance to update your records and/or provide clarification.”
Several people who were initially flagged did contact the voter office to update their information after receiving the letter and were subsequently removed from the deletion list, Smith said.
“I don’t want to take this lightly, removing voters, but I also strongly feel that these people on this list have or have had certain responsibilities of their own,” said board chairman Donald Glover.
Board members will sign the official deletion documents at their Sept. 5 regular meeting after staff has a chance to re-write the list with the identified postponements.
The postponements, which will be taken up again at the board’s December meeting, are for voters who registered in 2017 because they have not yet had a chance to vote in an election, which is where some of the discrepancies are caught.
Those people will be required to sign a certified postal service card that says they received the board’s letter and will take action to fix any problems, or else they, too, may be deleted.