A voting rights group wants Georgia legislators to change the law that allows the state to remove voters it deems are “inactive.”
Fair Fight Action, founded by former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, has called on the state’s Republican-led General Assembly to “fix” and “clarify” the state election law that determines the time frame in which voters have before being considered “inactive” and later removed from election rolls. The move, first reported by the Atlanta Constitution Journal, comes after a federal judged denied last month a motion from the group to restore 98,000 voters to the rolls after they were removed under the 2019 law.
“Just last year, the General Assembly gave voters a 2-year reprieve on the state’s flawed ‘use it or lose it’ provision. But the Secretary of State ignored the will of the legislature. The legislative branch has the obligation to quickly fix House Bill 316 and clarify that their grant of extra time was intended for all Georgians,” Fair Fight Action CEO Lauren Groh-Wargo said.
The change in state law last year lengthened the period before voters become “inactive” from three years to five years, according to the bill.
Fair Fight Action contends that the law should have covered voter registrations that had previously been declared inactive. Attorneys for the state said the law wasn’t meant to be retroactively applied, according to Atlanta Constitution Journal.
The group is still moving forward with a federal court case to stop “use it or lose it” voter purges in the state. The policy allows state officials to remove registrations from election rolls after voters fail to participate in elections for several years. The group argues that the removals are unconstitutional.
“In our view, it is a First Amendment right not to vote, and it is unconstitutional to take away a Georgian’s right to vote simply because they have not expressed that right in recent elections,” Fair Fight Action spokesman Seth Bringman previously told CNN.
Georgia recently purged more than 300,000 voters from its elections rolls. Of those, an estimated 22,000 were returned after Fair Fight challenged the removals last month, according to Georgia’s Secretary of State’s office.