Civil Rights Groups File Lawsuit On Pending Voter Registrations

Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit Thursday against Georgia’s secretary of state over the 53,000 voter registration applications that are currently on hold. The SOS is saying these voters can still go to the polls next month.

David Goldman / Associated Press file

Six civil rights groups are suing Georgia’s secretary of state for putting more than 53,000 voter registration applications on hold.

The lawsuit was filed in a federal district court in Atlanta regarding the applications pending with the Secretary of State’s office.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp is also running for governor in Georgia and faces criticism for his “exact match” policy.

It requires all registrations to match driver’s license or social security information.

The Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta, Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, New Georgia Project, Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, and ProGeorgia State Table are the six groups suing.

The groups said voter registrations were held due to misspellings or the omission of a letter or character.

“Nearly every other state treats failure to match a database differently than Georgia. In the case of a mismatch, the voter is still fully registered. First-time voters are required to show a form of identification at the polls when they vote for the first time. This process provides the same amount of election security and imposes less barriers to voters,” the groups wrote in a statement.

Other mistakes putting registrations on hold include misread handwriting or driver’s license digits not being written in the correct boxes.

The suit alleges that Georgia’s protocol violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act, and the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. A 2009 audit from the Social Security Administration’s inspector general that said matching voter records with a Social Security database produced inaccurate matching.

According to the Associated Press, nearly 70 percent of pending applicants are African-American.

The Secretary of State’s office said these voters can still vote at the polls, with a photo ID. It is possible that they will not be able to vote by mail or may have their vote by mail ballots rejected because Georgia absentee ballots do not require photo ID.