Vot­ers

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - FROM PAGE ONE -

Why are these reg­is­tra­tion ap­pli­ca­tions on hold?

Ge­or­gia’s “ex­act match” law, passed last year, re­quires reg­is­tra­tion ap­pli­ca­tion in­for­ma­tion to match driver’s li­cense, state ID card or So­cial Se­cu­rity records. Reg­is­tra­tions can be stalled for sev­eral rea­sons, in­clud­ing a miss­ing hy­phen in a last name, a dis­crep­ancy be­tween a maiden name and a mar- ried name or a mis­spelling in govern­ment records.

Can Ge­or­gians whose reg­is­tra­tions are pend­ing still vote?

Yes, they can cast a bal­lot if they show a govern­ment photo ID that sub­stan­tially matches the reg­is­tra­tion ap­pli­ca­tion. State law al­ready re­quires vot­ers to show photo ID be­fore cast­ing a bal­lot in per­son, and that iden­ti­fica- tion can also re­solve reg­is­tra­tion prob­lems. ID can be pro­duced ei­ther on Elec­tion Day, at early vot­ing lo­ca­tions, at county elec­tion of­fices or by mail. Ge­or­gia ac­cepts six kinds of photo ID: a state driv- er’s li­cense, a state or fed­eral ID card, a valid em­ployee ID from any govern­ment agency, a U.S. pass­port, a U.S. mili- tary ID or a tribal photo ID.

If every­one can vote any­way, why does it mat­ter if their reg­is­tra­tions are pend­ing un­til they ver­ify their in­for­ma­tion?

Crit­ics of Ge­or­gia’s law say vot­ers whose reg­is­tra­tions are on hold might be dis­cour­aged from vot­ing if they be­lieve they’re un­able to cast a bal­lot. Pend­ing vot­ers’ reg­is­tra­tion ap­pli­ca­tions are can­celed af­ter 26 months if they don’t re­solve dis­crep­an­cies. And the need to ver­ify vot­ing in­for­ma­tion cre­ates an­other step in the process to be­com- ing reg­is­tered vot­ers.

Who are these 53,000 peo­ple whose reg­is­tra­tions are on hold?

About 80 per­cent of ap­pli­cants put on pend­ing sta­tus are African-Amer­i­cans, Lati­nos and Asian-Amer­i­cans, ac­cord­ing to a fed­eral law­suit filed Thurs­day by civil rights groups. The law­suit, which de­mands that pend­ing vot­ers be­come ac­tive vot­ers, al­leges that the “ex­act match” is dis­crim­i­na­tory be­cause it dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fects mi­nor­ity groups. The Geor- gia Sec­re­tary of State’s Of­fice said many of these reg­is­tra- tions are on hold be­cause they were sub­mit­ted on pa­per by or­ga­ni­za­tions that specif- ically sought to add mi­nori­ties to the state’s list of reg­is­tered vot­ers.

When pend­ing vot­ers show photo ID, do they have to use a pro­vi­sional bal­lot?

No. Those who ver­ify their reg­is­tra­tion in­for­ma­tion can cast their bal­lots on Ge­or­gia’s touch­screen elec­tronic vot­ing ma­chines, just like ev­ery other reg­is­tered vot­ers. Only those pend­ing vot­ers who are un­able to cor­rect their reg­is­tra­tion in­for­ma­tion would use pro­vi­sional bal­lots, which are pa­per bal­lots that aren’t counted un­less vot­ers’ in­for­ma­tion is con­firmed in the days af­ter the elec­tion.

What is Kemp’s role in the “ex­act match” law?

As sec­re­tary of state, Kemp is re­spon­si­ble for en­forc­ing Ge­or­gia’s elec­tion laws, in­clud­ing the “ex­act match” re­quire­ment. Even be­fore it was part of state law, Kemp’s of­fice re­quired that reg­is­tra­tion ap­pli­ca­tions match govern­ment records. Civil rights groups and Kemp’s of­fice set­tled a law­suit over the match­ing process last year, but shortly af­ter­ward the Ge­or­gia Gen­eral Assem- bly and Gov. Nathan Deal made it into law.

Are lo­cal elec­tion of­fi­cials trained to re­solve dis­crep­an­cies on voter reg­is­tra­tions?

Yes. When pre­sented with a photo ID, elec­tion of­fi­cials will rec­on­cile the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion with reg­is­tra­tion records as long as they “sub- stan­tially match.” Elec­tion of­fi­cials are given dis­cre­tion to de­cide whether the ID is suf­fi­cient to re­solve dis­crep­an­cies. A dep­u­tized regis­trar in each county is trained to de­cide whether the photo ID ver­i­fies an in­di­vid­ual’s reg­is­tra­tion, ac­cord­ing to the Sec­re­tary of State’s Of­fice.

How can you check whether you’re reg­is­tered to vote?

The Ge­or­gia My Voter Page, at www.mvp.sos. ga.gov, al­lows any­one to check their reg­is­tra­tion in­for­ma­tion. The web­site shows vot­ers their precinct lo­ca­tions, ab­sen­tee bal­lot ap­pli­ca­tions and sam­ple bal- lots. For vot­ers whose reg­is­tra­tions are on hold, the web­site will dis­play a mes­sage that they should con- tact county elec­tion of­fices to ver­ify their in­for­ma­tion.

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