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State: County cannot remove voters from registration
46 slated to be nixed for inactivity, duplicate addresses

Forty-six Forsyth County voters who were scheduled to be purged from the county’s voter registration list will no longer be removed, per a directive from the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

The directive, which was presented at the Forsyth County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections’ Tuesday meeting, reverses a decision made at their Aug. 1 meeting to remove voters who have certain incorrect information on file, including those with commercial addresses listed as residential locations.

The 46 names came in addition to 8,650 other Forsyth voters the Secretary of State office recently removed from the state list for having no activity for at least the last two general elections, though the 46 names had not been removed yet because there was no official deletion document signed.

Board members were scheduled to sign the document this month.

“This all stems back to that there are only two ways that we can remove electors from the voter rolls,” said Barbara Luth, department supervisor. “One of them is that we receive a written confirmation of the change in residency by the elector or the NVRA confirmation notice process of no activity for two general elections.

“What that means is all of those hearings that we had that we were going to eliminate those people off the rolls we cannot do, so they have not been removed from the rolls.”

At the Aug. 1 meeting, Luth told board members voters who were set to be removed were decided upon after a lengthy process, which was largely overseen by Mandi Smith, elections supervisor.

“There are 18 names on the [first] list, and under findings [it says],” Smith said at the time, “‘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 contained 28 names, identified those who had 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, including sending out several letters.