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Elections board dismisses challenge to nearly 13,000 registered voters
Voters line up for Saturday voting at the Sharon Springs precinct location. Pollworkers said they had voters waiting for them to open when they arrived well before 8 a.m. The line had remained steady all day long. Voters said it was about a 25 minute wait. - photo by Jim Dean

A challenge to nearly 13,000 voter registrations was denied by the Forsyth County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections on the same night that the board adopted a policy for challenging voters.

At a special called meeting on Thursday, May 12, the board voted unanimously to dismiss the challenge of 12,888 voter registrations, which was brought by Forsyth County resident Frank Schneider and challenged the eligibility of those in the list to vote in the May 24 General Primary and Non-Partisan Election. 

The motion to dismiss the challenge was made by Democratic board member Anita Tucker, who said she supported dismissal because all information had come from the National Change of Address, or NCOA, database, information on permanent change-of-address records filed with the United States Postal Service, and that the challenge decision would be made 12 days from the primary.

Joel Natt, a Republican member of the board, said that of the nearly 13,000 names, as of the day before the meeting, 47 on that list had already voted and "wouldn’t have been eligible for a challenge at all.”

Though some had already voted, Natt said there was also evidence some on the list should be removed if the challenge was revised.

“Looking at the list, I noticed, just in my review of it, and that’s a lot of names, …  some college dorms addresses, I noticed some other things in there,” Natt said, “so I felt that it was important we don’t discourage Mr. Schneider from making the challenge butencourage him to do more thorough research on the challenge, and I welcome that if he chooses to bring it back to us at a later time with a little bit more research to it, I feel it would be more sustained and supported.”

The challenge was allowed under state law through OCGA 21-2-230 (a) which allows electors in the county to challenge the right of other electors.

“Such challenge may be made at any time prior to the elector whose right to vote is being challenged voting at the elector’s polling place or, if such elector cast an absentee ballot, prior to 5 p.m. on the day before the absentee ballots are to begin to be scanned and tabulated; provided, however, that challenges to persons voting by absentee ballot in person at the office of the registrars or the absentee ballot clerk shall be made prior to such person’s voting,” the code reads.

“There shall not be a limit on the number of persons whose qualifications such elector may challenge.”

Earlier in the meeting, the board also adopted a policy for reviewing challenges under state law going forward.