Yet, even after the admission, thousands of voter registrations have yet to be processed. Today, community and elected leaders gathered to demand that Georgia Secretary of State process 51,423 voter registration forms that have been languishing in the office for weeks. [*Update: As of October 6, 2014, 9,000 voter forms have been processed, but 42,000 forms remain unprocessed.]
The New Georgia Project, leading the call, filed several open records requests to gather information about the lag in processing registrations, and other concerns about the state’s highest election protection office. The New Georgia Project, the Georgia Conference of the NAACP, along with community groups, faith leaders and civil rights leaders gathered at the State Capitol to focus attention on the tens of thousands of applicants that have not yet made it on to the voter rolls.
“We stand here today as partners in the fight for justice,” noted Dr. Francys Johnson, president of the Georgia Conference of the NAACP. “The Secretary of State has abused his power, is clearly targeting seniors, students, and especially people of color, and is attempting to suppress voter registration drives. We will not tolerate voter suppression or intimidation. In this fight, the NAACP will mortgage every asset to defend unfettered access to the ballot. It is sacred! This is an attack on all of us, and we will not back down.”
Recent events have forced their hand
As the video from this morning shows, the groups also questioned why the Secretary of State tried to quietly call an “emergency” public state election board meeting. We initiated a conversation with the Secretary of State’s office in June, but recent events have forced our interaction from collaboration to deep concern,” said Georgia Rep. Stacey Abrams. “According to their own rules, any voter who has not been processed in three to four weeks should contact the elections officials. Yet, months have passed without thousands of voters receiving verification of their registration. We are deeply worried by the unexplained delays, and fearful that slow internal processes and a potentially flawed matching system are to blame for keeping these new voters in limbo.”
Where are the names?
The coalition presented more than a dozen boxes filled with 51,423 sheets that each contain the names and basic contact information of unregistered applicants. The New Georgia Project has reviewed the Secretary of State’s voter file but could not find thousands of eligible, submitted names as of the first week of September. The New Georgia Project questioned Secretary of State Kemp on a number of items regarding voter registration applications that have not been processed. A number of forms were submitted prior to the May 20th primary.
Secretary of State actions raises concerns
Coalition members have raised concerns that the delay in processing may be caused by the Secretary of State’s use of the matching system that is tied to the Department of Drivers Services database. Any mistakes in names, including misspellings or change in names, can result in the rejection of an applicant. They are demanding an answer to:
- Number of processed voter registration forms
- Details on the procedure for processing voter registration forms
- Specifics regarding alleged complaints