In September 2016, Project Vote and partners filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Georgia’s exact-match voter registration verification scheme violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and denies eligible Georgians their fundamental right to vote under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The suit was filed on behalf of the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP, Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta.
The complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, concerns Georgia’s voter registration verification process, which requires all of the letters and numbers comprising the applicant’s name, date of birth, driver’s license number or last four digits of the Social Security number to exactly match the same letters and numbers for the applicant in the state’s Department of Drivers Service (DDS) or Social Security Administration (SSA) databases. This process is resulting in the cancellation of applications submitted by black, Latino, and Asian applicants at rates significantly higher than white applicants.
On September 23, in response to our motion, counsel for Sec. Kemp filed a letter with the court, indicating that Georgia would suspend this database matching process and move voters canceled for failing to respond to a “non-match” letter back into “pending” status. This will effect voters cancelled since October 2014. As a result, these voters will now be able to cast a regular ballot—and be moved to “active” voter status—if they simply show appropriate ID at the polls.
In response to these concessions—which were acknowledged in a court order Sept. 28—Project Vote and partners withdrew our motion for a preliminary injunction. The motion can be re-instated if Georgia does not rectify the problems with its rejected applicants.
In February 2017, a settlement agreement was reached. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the Secretary of State agreed to implement reforms to the process to help ensure that eligible Georgians will no longer be denied the right to register and vote as a result of data entry errors, typos and other database matching issues that do not bear upon the applicant’s eligibility to vote.
Plaintiffs are represented by Project Vote, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Campaign Legal Center, and the Voting Rights Institute of the Georgetown University Law Center, along with the New York City office of Hughes Hubbard and Reed LLP and Atlanta-based firm of Caplan Cobb, acting as pro bono counsel.
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Reinstating "exact match" requirements that were just the subject of a lawsuit, HB 268 is bad for Georgia voters, and would almost certainly end up the subject of further litigation. Read more
The settlement reinstates eligible voters wrongfully removed from the rolls, and prevents the rejection of future registration applications for database matching errors. Read more
Settlement agreement in GA NAACP v. Kemp (2016) Read more
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Georgia Says It Will Allow Tens of Thousands of Previously-Rejected Voters to Cast Ballots This November
Tens of thousands of eligible Georgia voters whose voter registrations had been canceled or were at risk of being canceled will be able to cast a ballot this November, according to a letter filed with a federal court. Read more
Court order granting plaintiff's motion to withdraw motion for a preliminary injunction, in light of defendant's good faith concessions. Read more
by Kristina Torres, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Gainesville — Georgia has agreed to temporarily suspend a requirement that has prevented tens... Read more
Sec. of State Brian Kemp's response to plaintiff's response for a preliminary injunction. Read more
Georgia's strict system for adding new voters to the rolls risks disenfranchising tens of thousands of minorities in the battleground state this fall, according to a new lawsuit by several voting rights groups. Read more