(ATLANTA) – A federal judge Wednesday added to the long string of recent courtroom victories for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger by ruling against four groups trying to reinstate the voter registrations of thousands who no longer live in Georgia in time for the Jan. 5 runoff.
“This lawsuit from left-leaning groups – like the recent ones from the right -- was based on conjecture by unqualified ‘experts’ drawn from sloppy analysis,” Raffensperger said. “This office abides by the law regardless of criticism and oversees fair and accurate elections open to all eligible voters – but only eligible Georgia voters.”
U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones rejected claims by four voting-rights groups that argued last week that the voter registrations of nearly 200,000 people were improperly canceled last year. Jones denied their request to have the registrations restored before next month’s runoff for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats and a post on the Public Service Commission.
The cancelations were completed during routine list maintenance last year as required by state and federal law. The Secretary of State’s Office made public the list of people subject to cancelation two months in advance. News outlets reviewing it found that the people on it had moved years ago.
Before cancelation, each person was sent a letter instructing them to complete an attached postage-paid postcard if they wanted to stay registered to vote. They had also ignored a similar letter four years earlier when their registration became inactive, although voting once in that time would have returned them to active status and prevented cancelation.
In the lawsuit, the groups relied on conclusions from an itinerant journalist who cross referenced the list of cancelations with commercial lists used by large mailers for address correction, a process known to produce a large number of errors due to common names.
Georgia is recognized as a national leader in elections. It was the first state in the country to implement the trifecta of automatic voter registration, at least 16 days of early voting (which has been called the “gold standard”), and no-excuse absentee voting. Georgia continues to set records for voter turnout and election participation, seeing the largest increase in average turnout of any other state in the 2018 midterm election and record primary turnout in 2020, with over 1.1 million absentee by mail voters and over 1.2 million in-person voters utilizing Georgia’s new, secure, paper ballot voting system.