ATLANTA, GA (WALB) - Last Friday, federal Judge Timothy Batten dismissed a lawsuit filed by Common Cause and the Georgia Conference of the NAACP that attempted to overturn a Georgia law that requires regular list maintenance of the voter rolls.
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said the dismissal means that "the maintenance of accurate voter rolls is a substantial government interest."
"Well-maintained voter rolls are essential to election security and avoiding fraud, and I am glad that Judge Batten's order recognized this important state interest," Kemp said. "In the Peach State, it is easy to vote and hard to cheat, and I will not waver in my commitment to ensuring secure, accessible, and fair elections in our state. I applaud the good work of Attorney General Chris Carr's office in defending this important law."
In Georgia, registered voters are mailed a confirmation notice following three years of "no contact" which election officials. "Contact" includes voting, signing a nomination petition, or engaging in other legally defined activity. People who don't respond to the postage-paid and pre-addressed confirmation notice within thirty days is moved to inactive status on the voter rolls.
Inactive status does not prevent the individual from voting. If a voter stays inactive for two federal election cycles without voting or having any other contact with the elections office, he is removed from the rolls.
The Court held that Georgia's law does not violate the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) as claimed by the plaintiffs, nor the First Amendment. The Court found that Georgia's law does not remove voters based solely on failure to vote.
The Court also held that there is no violation of the First Amendment because, even if a right not to vote existed, the statute is reasonable and nondiscriminatory, and maintaining accurate voter rolls serves a substantial government interest without impermissibly limiting other avenues of political communication.