A federal judge is allowing Georgia to remove nearly 100,000 inactive voters from its rolls, rebuffing a legal challenge arguing that the removals violate Georgians’ constitutional right to vote.
On Friday, US District Court Judge Steve C. Jones denied a request from Fair Fight Action, a voting rights group founded by former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, to block the removals. Jones, a Barack Obama appointee, did order the Georgia secretary of state to make “diligent and reasonable efforts” to inform voters who need to re-register.
Friday’s decision covered voters who were taken off the rolls after having no contact with elections officials for three years under a “use it or lose it” rule. A 2018 investigation from APM Reports found that black voters were disproportionately likely to be removed from the rolls in most counties. In March, the Georgia legislature passed a law requiring the secretary of state to wait five years before removing inactive voters.
As Georgia’s secretary of state, Brian Kemp oversaw efforts that made it harder for minorities to vote. As Mother Jones’ Pema Levy reported: