In a 3-2 party-line vote, the elections board in Georgia’s most diverse county, Gwinnett, dismissed over 11,000 challenges to voter registrations as Republicans ramp up their voter suppression efforts with little over a month left until what is probably the most important midterm election in recent history.
According to The Gwinett Daily Post:
“The challenges were part of a massive group of 37,500 voter challenges that were filed in late August. The majority of that group challenged ballots cast in the 2020 general election, but many more were aimed at challenging registrations for the upcoming election in November. The two Democrats on Gwinnett’s board, Stephen Day and Wandy Taylor, as well as the nonpartisan member, Anthony Rodriguez, voted to dismiss the active challenges for the upcoming election. The two Republicans, board chairwoman Alice O’Lenick and George Awuku, voted against dismissing them.”
With an October 11th voter registration deadline and early voting starting less than a week later, it’s clear that 1993’s National Voter Registration Act prohibits states from removing voters from voter rolls through list maintenance less than 90 days before a federal election, Unfortunately, this conflicts with Georgia’s law requiring voter challenges “without delay, The Gwinett Daily Post reported.
“The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office had already conducted two list maintenance activities over the summer.” – Curt Yeomans, Gwinnett Daily Post.
“These challenges can’t be viewed as individualized,” Democratic elections board member Stephen Day said. “The very fact that 37,000 challenges are being presented presents a systematic election roll maintenance activity which is is illegal, according to the NVRA, within 90 days of this election.”
While only one person is listed as filing the nearly 40,000 challenges, VoterGA admits their volunteers worked on the affidavits. The supposed “election integrity” group sent a letter to Georgia Attorney General in December 2020 – demanding a “true audit” of the absentee ballots cast in the 2020 election, and alleging “voting irregularities.
The Gwinnett NAACP, which, along with other civil and voting rights organizations, questioned the timing of the challenges — citing previous voter suppression efforts by the elections board earlier in the year – and celebrated their dismissal.
“We’re very happy. We’re happy that they saw this for what it was. They eliminated many of these challenges that were erroneous, that were just grouping people together because of systems … These challenges should be one-on-one and not presented in batches of thousands.” Penny Poole – Gwinnett NAACP President
Poole continued: “We have to take one issue at a time because we’ve been inundated with all kinds of voter suppression tactics that are trying to take people’s rights away from them,” she said.
A 2021 change to Georgia voting law increased the ability for more mass voter registration challenges, further complicating the issue. Board member Alice O’Lenick wanted to postpone the challenges until after the November election, but according to the Republican, “The Democrats and the at-large on the board voted to dismiss all pending challenges, the Republicans voted to uphold them,” O’Lenick said in the meeting’s closing minutes. “We were outvoted.”
Thank goodness for that.
Original reporting by Curt Yeomans at The Gwinett Daily Post.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick
News journalist for Occupy Democrats.