Ongoing: Secretary of State admits Georgia\’s voter purge was erroneous

Published: Dec. 19, 2019
Updated: Dec. 27, 2019, 6:29 p.m. ET
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Official statement released by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger\’s office on Thurs., Dec. 19. Source: sos.ga.gov

ATLANTA — Just hours before a federal court hearing called by Judge Steve Jones on Thurs., Dec. 19, following an emergency motion filed by voting rights group Fair Fight Action against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Mon., Dec. 16, the Secretary of State\’s office issued a statement admitting Georgia\’s most recent voter purge was erroneous, removing tens of thousands of voters from the rolls that shouldn\’t have been under terms and conditions of the Republican voting pack bill, House Bill 316.

Georgia\’s most recent voter purge removed over 300,000 voters from the rolls this past Monday evening, with around 120,000 of them removed under the use it or lose it policy, which allows voters to be removed from the rolls due to mere inactivity. The use it or lose it policy is currently being challenged in the courts in the groundbreaking lawsuit Fair Fight Action et al. v. Brad Raffensperger et al., which is in its final stages of discovery and holds an anticipated trial date for late March 2020.

The Secretary of State\’s office announced today it will reinstate 22,000 voters back to the rolls today in its seemingly rushed announcement following the hearing held today, Thurs., Dec. 19, at 2 p.m. Fair Fight Action issued an official statement in response, saying:

Secretary Raffensperger’s 11th-hour admission that he made massive errors in this week’s voter purge should send chills down the spine of every Georgian who cares about voting rights. The fact that Raffensperger agrees with Fair Fight Action that he failed to follow the law and illegally took away 22,000 Georgians’ right to vote is refreshing, but it’s not enough. Every voter purged this week under ‘use it or lose it’ must be reinstated immediately.

It is not clear how the Secretary\’s decision will ultimately affect Judge Jones\’ decision. We will continue to report on this story as it develops.

UPDATE (Fri., Dec. 27, 2019 – 6:27 p.m.) — Hearings continued today in the ongoing case between Fair Fight Action et al. and the State of Georgia. Fair Fight Action CEO Lauren Groh-Wargo announced earlier this afternoon that due to the voter protection organization\’s efforts, approximately 26,500 voters remain on the rolls that were initially to be included in Georgia\’s most recent voter purge. The voter purge went underway on Mon., Dec. 16, and was slated to removed over 300,000 voters from the rolls. According to Groh-Wargo via her official Twitter account, Judge Jones ordered today that the State take additional steps to notify the purged voters.

The Court today declined to issue an injunction on the purge, but expressed that it has a serious concern that there needs to be an immediate and accurate interpretation by the state court of HB 316. Judge Jones is also the sitting judge in the Fair Fight Action et al. vs. Brad Raffensperger et al. that is currently in discovery, in which HB 316 is under major scrutiny.

Groh-Wargo further stated that Fair Fight Action is now seeking additional legal options moving forward.

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