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.