This week, the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office released a list of more than 300,000 inactive Georgia voters that may be removed from the state’s voter rolls as part of “routine and legally required” maintenance, ahead of the 2020 election.
The list contains about 4% of all Georgia voters, including over 5,800 from Forsyth County, that have been “inactive” since the 2012 presidential election, according to the secretary of state’s office.
Of the 313,243 records slated for removal, 108,306 filed a change of address request with the U.S. Postal Service showing they have moved to a different county or state, 84,376 had election mail returned as undeliverable and the remaining 120,561 have had no contact with their county election officials since prior to 2012.
Of the 5,827 Forsyth County records slated for removal, 2,893 filed a change of address request, 2,002 have had no contact with their county election officials since 2012 and 932 had election mail returned as undeliverable.
A voter registration becomes inactive when a voter has not responded to the pre-addressed, postage paid confirmation cards that are sent out asking individuals to confirm or update their information for three or more years. These confirmation cards are sent out to individuals who have filed a change of address request with the U.S. Postal Service, had election mail returned as undeliverable and individuals that have not voted or had contact with election officials for three years.
Federal and state laws require election officials to conduct regular list maintenance on registration records when a person has died or moved to a different address, while Georgia law specifically requires officials to remove registration records that have been “inactive” for two general elections.
Officials say that by performing this regular maintenance they ensure that the state has the most accurate information, cutting down on confusion on Election Day.
“Accurate and up-to-date voter rolls are vital to secure elections, but at the same time I want to ensure that anyone potentially affected by this routine process has notice and opportunity to update their information,” Raffensperger said in a release. ”That is why my office is releasing the full list to ensure that people who are still eligible voters can update their information.”
Next week, individuals on the secretary of state’s list will be notified by mail that their registration is slated for cancellation in 30 days. The notice will also provide information on how to make contact with election officials and stop the cancelation.
According to Mandi Smith, director of the Forsyth County Voter Registrations & Elections, individuals who receive the notice can fill out and mail in the form that will be provided by the secretary of state’s office; go online to register; or go in person to any Forsyth County public library and the Forsyth County election office to register.
"Ultimately, they just need to make contact with our office," she said. "The notice that the state is going to send out will give them all the information that they need."
Regardless of whether you get a notice or not, Smith said on Friday that all voters should take this as an opportunity to double check their voter registration ahead of the election year.
"Double check your voter registration record, that's just a good best practice for all of us, particularly leading up to next year," she said.
The list of registrations slated for cancellation can be found by visiting the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.ga.gov/admin/uploads/2019_NGE_List.xlsx.You can view your voter registration status by visiting www.mvp.sos.ga.gov.