Georgia’s secretary of state announced Friday that more than 100,000 names will be removed from the state’s voter registration rolls in an effort to keep the state’s voter files “up to date.”
In a statement, Republican Brad Raffensperger said, “Making sure Georgia’s voter rolls are up to date is critical to ensuring the integrity of our elections.” “There is no legitimate reason to keep ineligible voters on the rolls.”
According to the statement, the voter files being removed are “obsolete and outdated,” and Raffensperger has “made it a priority to continue with the list maintenance process” since the 2020 election.
Following President Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia, a flurry of new voting restrictions were imposed in Republican-led states, with Georgia becoming the first presidential battleground to do so.
Raffensperger, who was censured at the Georgia Republican Party’s convention earlier this month, has come under fire from within his own party for claiming that Biden won Georgia in November and refusing to help former President Donald Trump overturn the election results after his loss.
Since the election, Raffensperger and his family have received death threats.
According to the statement, the effort to remove 101,789 names from Georgia’s voter files is the first “major cleaning” the state has done since 2019, but Georgia regularly removes the voter files of convicted felons and the deceased on a monthly basis.
“The 101,789 obsolete voter files that will be removed include 67,286 voter files associated with a National Change of Address form submitted to the U.S. Postal Service; 34,227 voter files that had election mail returned to sender; and 276 that had no-contact with elections officials for at least five years,” the statement said. “In each of these cases, the individual had no contact with Georgia’s elections officials in any way – either directly or through the Department of Driver Services – for two general elections.”
With the statement, the full list of “obsolete and outdated” names that will be removed was made public.
Georgia also removed “18,486 voter files of dead individuals based on information received from Georgia’s Office of Vital Records and the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), an interstate partnership of 30 states and the District of Columbia dedicated to maintaining accurate voter rolls,” according to the statement.
Raffensperger made a dig at Stacey Abrams, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Georgia, in his statement.
“That is why I fought and beat Stacey Abrams in court in 2019 to remove nearly 300,000 obsolete voter files before the November election, and will do so again this year,” Raffensperger said.
Raffensperger has been a vocal opponent of Abrams for many years. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, after losing to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Abrams founded Fair Fight Action, a voting rights organization that filed a lawsuit disputing, in part, Georgia’s removal of voter files for those who haven’t voted in recent elections.
This past election, Georgia became a major battleground state, with two pivotal races determining the balance of the US Senate.
Despite the objections of state Democrats and voting rights activists, Georgia Republicans rushed a broad elections bill through the legislature in March, which Kemp signed into law. Among other things, the law requires voter ID for absentee ballots, reduces the number of ballot drop boxes in large counties, and shortens the length of runoff elections.
Despite election officials claiming that the 2020 election will be the safest in American history, Republicans defended the bill as necessary to boost voter confidence and security. Trump had repeatedly promoted unproven theories about the 2020 election and Georgia’s electoral system, which gained traction among his base.
According to a tally by the Brennan Center for Justice, 13 other states have enacted nearly two dozen laws restricting ballot access since the 2020 election, with Georgia being the first to do so. Other Republican-led states are considering legislation to limit absentee and mail-in voting.