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Georgia ordered to ease rule for voters proving citizenship, but rule already in place

Georgia has to take additional steps to make sure eligible citizens aren’t disenfranchised, a judge ordered

A federal judge ruled on Friday that Georgia must now make it easier for voters with pending citizenship to show proof at the polls.

Poll workers must now allow those that are flagged to vote with a regular ballot as long as they can show evidence of citizenship.

The Georgia Attorney General’s Office did not say if they would respond with an appeal, but state attorneys were reviewing the judge’s order.

The decision from U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross is a win for voting rights groups who filed the injunction based on the “exact match” law. By law, Georgia requires identification information on a voter’s registration application to exactly match information already on file with the Georgia Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration.

If a newly registered citizen just recently registered to vote at a Department of Drivers Services site, they will still show up pending in the system. The ruling is expected to impact over 3,100 people whose registrations were considered pending.

The judge orders Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is the Republican candidate for Governor, to allow those still pending in the system to vote if they present proof of citizenship. The judge also informed Kemp to take additional steps to educate voters about what to do if they are eligible and have been flagged as a noncitizen.

Secretary Brian Kemp said in a press release on Friday that “Georgia already has a process in place to resolve citizenship issues at the polls. Thanks to liberal advocacy groups who wait until the eleventh hour to sue, we were forced to waste time and taxpayer dollars for the judge to tell us to do something that we already do.”

Kemp’s press release reiterated that his office already had processed in place to help pending voters gain access to voting:

“Before today’s ruling, county officials had already sent these letters to all pending voters instructing them to resolve this verification issue as soon as possible. Voters may also resolve the issue at their polling place with proper proof of citizenship,” said the press release.

The ACLU of Georgia was one of the groups to help file the lawsuit:

“Today the Eleventh Circuit agreed with the ACLU of Georgia and protected the due process rights of every Georgia citizen who votes by absentee ballot. Georgia voters and hard-working elections officials are ready to move on with this election. We trust the Secretary will do the same,” state Sean J. Young, Legal Director of the ACLU of Georgia.

A portion of the order from Judge Ross is as follows:

Secretary of State, to act immediately, as follows:
1. Allow county election officials to permit eligible voters who registered to
vote, but who are inaccurately flagged as non-citizens to vote a regular ballot
by furnishing proof of citizenship to poll managers or deputy registrars.

2. Update the “Information for Pending Voters” on the Secretary of State’s
website so that it provides (a) clear instructions and guidance to voters in
pending status due to citizenship and (b) a contact name and telephone
number that individuals may call with questions about the pending status due
to citizenship.

3. Direct all county registrars, deputy registrars, and poll managers on how to
verify proof of citizenship to ensure that they can properly confirm
citizenship status consistent with this order.

4.Issue a press release (a) accurately describing how an individual flagged and
placed in pending status due to citizenship may vote in the upcoming
election, as set forth herein; and (b) providing a contact name and telephone
number that individuals may call with questions about the pending status due
to citizenship.

5. Direct the county boards of elections to post a list of acceptable
documentation to prove citizenship, which includes a naturalization
certificate, birth certificate issued by a state or territory within the United
States, U.S. passport, and other documents or affidavits explicitly identified
by Georgia law and listed on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website, at
polling places on Election Day.

Below is the order –

Judges order election



Jeremy Spencer grew up in rural South Georgia and has served as a healthcare provider, high school science teacher, school administrator, and state education official. Jeremy is currently the market and content manager for All on Georgia-Camden and Glynn Counties. Jeremy’s focus is local news, statewide education issues, and statewide political commentary for the All on Georgia News Network. Jeremy has served as an education policy analyst for local legislators and state education leaders as well as a campaign strategist for local and statewide political campaigns. Jeremy holds degrees in science and education from the University of Georgia, Piedmont College, and Valdosta State University. Jeremy has lived in Camden County for over 17 years.

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