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Ga. Secretary of State will send letters to voters with 5 years of inactivity

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.(WRDW)
Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 11:39 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (WALB) - Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Thursday that he is taking another step to update voter lists to safeguard election integrity.

Georgia election officials are sending 185,666 notifications this week to voter files that have registered no contact with Georgia’s election system for at least five calendar years.

“Accurate voter lists are fundamental to election integrity,” Raffensperger said. “They ensure ineligible people cannot vote, allow counties to effectively allocate resources so there are no long lines, and help make sure voters get accurate information about casting their ballot.”

Raffensperger instructed county election officials to mail no-contact notices to 185,666 people. Their registrations will be classified as “inactive” if they do not respond within 30 days. These registrations are for people who have had no contact in the election system in the last five calendar years, according to Raffensperger.

The secretary of state said none voted in last year’s general election or the runoff.

No contact means they have neither voted, requested an absentee ballot, signed a petition, updated their registration by changing their address or renewed their driver’s license, according to Raffensperger.

Voting booths
Voting booths

Inactive status does not prevent voters from casting a regular ballot as usual. Voters on the inactive list who try to cast a ballot will not realize they had been made inactive.

People receiving a notification can return it, postage-free, and avoid being classified as inactive. Voter files that remain inactive for two more election cycles will be mailed another notice asking them to confirm their registration. Inactive voters who do not respond to the second notice will have their registration canceled.

Raffensperger said news outlets discovered in the past that most of the people who haven’t had contact with the election system in five years have moved.

“It’s not surprising considering the U.S. Census Bureau estimates 250,000 people move into and out of Georgia every year,” a release from Raffensperger’s office states.

Federal legislation signed into law by then-President Clinton in 1993 requires states to conduct regular maintenance of voter lists. It also prohibits states from canceling inactive voters until after two election cycles, and it limits Georgia’s systematic list maintenance to odd-numbered years when there are no federal elections scheduled.

Raffensperger said he has urged Congress to allow states to conduct more timely maintenance. Anyone can check the status of their registration at any time at My Voter Page, where they can also make corrections, add their email address and cellphone number or register to vote.

Raffensperger said Georgia makes registration easy. It can be done online, automatically while getting or renewing a driver’s license, or by mail.

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