Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger recently announced the first major list maintenance effort following the November 2020 election cycle. 101,789 obsolete and outdated voter files will be removed from Georgia’s voter registration rolls to ensure the state’s voter files are up to date.
Locally, 153 confirmation notices were mailed to Chattooga Registered Voters on June 18, 2021. Of the 153, 74 are inactive from the NCOA (National Change of Address) process, one is inactive for no contact (has not had any contact since July 2010), and 78 are inactive because of returned mail.
According Chattooga County’s Chief Registrar Sheena Weaver, “As of now, 59 of the 153 confirmation notices have been returned undeliverable with no additional information provided by USPS for another possible address. One was returned with another address provided by USPS so the notice was forwarded to that address. Three individuals on the list have been cancelled for being deceased. And two of the voters on the list have completed a registration form at the Department of Driver Services so they will not be cancelled. I believe the voters will be cancelled around July 28, so voters still have two weeks”
Weaver provided additional information on ways for a voter to become inactive:
There are three ways for a voter to become inactive: NCOA, Returned Mail, and No Contact.
In odd years, the State sends confirmation notices to voters who have completed a National Change of Address form at the United States Post Office. There are two sides to this process: for voters whose change is within the same county and voters whose change is outside of the county. The within-county voters automatically have their address changed at the end of the process if they have not made contact. These voters remain Active. The out of county voters are moved to inactive at the end of the process (for the reason of NCOA) if they have not made contact by the end of the process. Anyone who does make contact has their record updated accordingly based on what the response was.
When a voter submits a registration/change form, we send a precinct card to the mailing address on the application. If the physical and mailing are the same, then that’s the address we send the card to. If that card is returned undeliverable, we check the information on the card against the application to verify the information was inputted correctly. If the application was processed correctly, we input this as returned mail. This generates a confirmation notice and is sent forward-service-requested. If the voter does not return the confirmation notice within a month or if the confirmation notice is returned undeliverable, then the voter’s status is changed to inactive for the reason of Returned Mail. The same process happens if any official election mail is returned undeliverable as well.
If a voter has not made any contact with our office for five consecutive years, the voter’s status is changed to Inactive for the reason of No Contact.
If a voter remains Inactive through 2 consecutive General Elections, then they are sent a confirmation notice with a final opportunity to remain a registered voter. The confirmation notices mailed to the 101,789 registered Georgia voters is part of this process. For this time, these voters were inactive prior to the November 6, 2018 General Election and were still inactive at the point the notices were printed. I am reviewing the list now to see if any of our voters have since made contact with our office through another form. I keep a list of our voters and check it daily against applications received so at the end of the process I can verify that no one in our county was cancelled if contact was made prior to the cancellation. In all the years I have done this, the system has never cancelled anyone for no activity who is Active in status, but I always double check just in case.
Any time a voter in Inactive status makes contact (signs a petition, votes, completes a registration/change form), the voter’s status goes back to Active.
Confirmation notices sent to a voter for returned mail, NCOA, and the No Activity through Two General Election Cycle processes are very similar. The instructions on the forms vary slightly to reflect the exact process, as you would expect. All of them include a postage paid form for the voter to complete. This allows the voter to update name and address or to confirm that the information is correct. We process all forms that come back to us, whether they come back completed by the voter or returned undeliverable.
Any voter who is cancelled can register to vote again at any point. This includes if we receive a completed confirmation notice from the voter after the voter has been cancelled. We will use the form to re-register the voter.
A voter does not have to wait to receive the confirmation notice in the mail. If the voter wants to complete a form through our office, online, or another agency (such as the Department of Driver Services or a public library), that will also keep the voter registered to vote.