ATLANTA — Georgia and Gwinnett County election officials are violating federal voting law by failing to dismiss thousands of voter eligibility challenges filed recently by third-party groups.
The tens of thousands of residency-based mass challenges recently filed in Gwinnett County fall far short of the rigorous individualized examinations required for voter challenges under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which also does not allow for systematic removal of people from voting rolls within 90 days of an election.
The failure by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Gwinnett County election officials thus far to reject these baseless challenges violates the NVRA, a coalition of voting rights groups including Common Cause Georgia informed the officials in a letter sent Wednesday. The letter, a copy of which is available here, is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit under the National Voter Registration Act.
The coalition, represented by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, includes Common Cause Georgia, the Georgia NAACP and the Gwinnett County NAACP branch, GALEO Latino Community Development Fund, Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, and the League of Women Voters of Georgia.
The mass voter eligibility challenge is seeking to intimidate voters in Gwinnett County, which has large numbers of new citizens and students, as well as growing communities of less-advantaged voters, said Aunna Dennis, Common Cause Georgia’s executive director.
“Your vote is powerful, and your voice is needed as Georgia goes to vote in the Nov. 8 election,” Dennis said. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t see groups trying so hard to intimidate voters and discourage people from exercising their right to vote though baseless challenges like this.”
Dennis is also calling on Raffensperger’s office to provide clear guidance about what to do with mass challenges like this as county election offices are headed into the last few weeks before the Nov. 8 election, Dennis said.
“We want to make sure every county has the guidance it needs from the secretary of state on how to do their jobs so every vote is counted efficiently, safely, and accurately, but that’s not what has happened,” she said.
To arrange an interview with Aunna Dennis, Common Cause Georgia’s executive director, please contact Sarah Ovaska at firstname.lastname@example.org.