Georgia voter registration system challenged

Georgia voter registration system challenged

[JURIST] Several organizations filed a federal lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Wednesday challenging Georgia’s voter registration system. Since 2010, Georgia has required [AP report] voter applications to match databases managed by the Georgia Department of Driver Services and the Social Security Administration (SSA) [official websites]. Should a potential voter’s identification information not match such databases, the state sends a notification to the person’s residence and requires a response within 40 days before canceling the application. The state has noted that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] was fully advised of this system in 2010 and that such measures are essential for preventing voter fraud. Plaintiffs Georgia State Conference of the NAACP (GA NAACP), Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda (GCPA) and the Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta [advocacy websites] have argued, however, that the state’s system is unconstitutional and violates the Voting Rights Act [text, PDF] by preventing many state residents from registering to vote. The organizations also claim in their lawsuit that the state system disproportionately affects minorities who may not have the proper knowledge to remedy any hindering application errors. The lawsuit requests that the judge terminate the current system and allow state residents with previously canceled applications to vote in the upcoming election.

Voting rights remain a controversial legal issue in the US. Last week the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit blocked [JURIST report] a proof of citizenship requirement imposed upon voters by Alabama, Georgia and Kansas. Earlier this month the US Supreme Court [official website] rejected [JURIST report] Michigan’s appeal of an injunction [text, PDF] that prevented the state from ban straight-ticket voting. The Supreme Court also denied a motion to reinstate [JURIST report] North Carolina’s recently overturned law that limited early voting to 10 days and required voters to present approved identification cards. Last month the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] denied [JURIST report] an emergency petition for a rehearing regarding the Wisconsin voter ID law. Also last month the Illinois Supreme Court concluded [JURIST report] that placing a redistricting proposal on the ballot this fall would be unconstitutional. Earlier in August an Oklahoma court upheld [JURIST report] a controversial voter identification law allowing the law to be in place while early voting commenced for a primary run-off. In July voter restrictions were overturned not only in North Carolina, but in Kansas and Wisconsin [JURIST reports].