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This Week: Georgia Prepares To Purge 300,000 Voters

Voting rights primer
November 4, 2019 9:32 a.m.

Georgia Eyes Purge Of 300,000 Voters: Almost 4 percent of Georgia’s voter registrants stand to be removed from the rolls as the Peach State prepares for a purge scheduled for next month. Some of those voters will be removed because they sat out two elections cycles, with the state using the same use-it-or-lose-it method that the Supreme Court sanctioned for Ohio last year. Georgia is also following in Ohio’s footsteps by releasing a list of the individuals planned for removal so that outside groups can help eligible voters stay on the rolls. When Ohio released such a list for the first time this year, 1-in-5 people on the list confirmed they should to stay on the rolls, raising questions about whether using people’s lack of voter activity is really an accurate way to tell if they moved or died. Georgia voters can make sure they’re not about to be purged here.

Pushback Against Gerrymandering Reaches North Carolina’s Congressional Map: North Carolina will likely have a new U.S. House map when voters go to the polls next year, thanks to a lawsuit brought against the districting scheme. A state court barred the state from using the current map last week, and top N.C. Republicans are hinting that they may just redraw the districts rather than continue to fight the lawsuit in court. The order against the congressional map came from the same panel of judges who tossed out North Carolina’s state legislative maps. In that case, those judges also approved last week the replacement maps that were drawn by legislators after the ruling. That approval however has been appealed up to the state Supreme Court by the group that brought the original legal challenge, who say legislators did not do enough to fix the gerrymander.

A New Wave Of Dem-Backed Lawsuits: Last week ushered in three separate voting rights lawsuits brought by Democrats across the country:

  • Texas: The state Democratic party is challenging the closure of several early voting sites, including those that serve college campuses.
  • Michigan: A Democrat-aligned political action group sued over Michigan’s practice of throwing out absentee ballots for perceived signature match issues.
  • North Carolina: Several Democratic groups are behind a lawsuit seeking to restore early voting on the Saturday before Election Day, which was nixed in a 2018 bill.

VA Lawsuit Targets Rejection Of Student Voter Registrations: A federal judge in Virginia said Friday that 171 George Mason University students must be permitted to vote after a lawsuit filed last week challenged the rejection of their voter registrations. A voting rights group sued election officials in Fairfax County, Virginia over their rejections of registrations because the students used a generic college mailbox address, rather than their specific dorm residence and dorm room number. The students, under the judge’s order, were given until Saturday to fix their registrations, and if they miss that deadline, can still vote provisionally in this week’s election.

MN Supreme Court To Hear Lawsuit Over Access To Voter Data: On Tuesday, the state Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a lawsuit brought by a far-right group seeking voter data the state is refusing to turn over. The group believes the data — which documented who has been flagged on the rolls as a potential felon ineligible to vote — would reveal mass voter fraud. Minnesota has produced other sets of voter data for the group but says it’s not legally obligated to produce this set.

MI’s Jim Crow-Era Election Practice Allowed To Stand — For Now: In the case challenging Mississippi’s Jim Crow-era practice for electing certain statewide officials, a federal judge said Friday that he wouldn’t block the system before this week’s elections in the state. But, he added he had “gave concerns” about the system. Under it, certain statewide candidates must win both the popular vote and a majority of the state’s legislative districts, with the second requirement having the effect of diluting Mississippi’s black vote. If a candidate fails to win both, then the state legislature gets to chose the winner. U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan II suggested Friday that if the coming election resulted in a scenario where the state legislature was picking the winner, he would then intervene.

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