SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The 2019 election is just around the corner, but before you cast your vote, some might be wondering if they can vote next week.
According to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, they will purge more than 300,000 voter registrations due to inactivity. The state released all names in order to make sure they are aware before it’s too late.
Of that more than 300,000 voters, more than 20,000 people are likely to be removed from voter rolls. But this purge will not impact Tuesday’s election.
A new Georgia law requires the Secretary of States office to send out an additional notice before canceling a voter’s registration due to inactivity. Next week, they’ll send out more than 300,000 notices across the state. The Secretary of States office says this is about 4 percent of Georgia’s total number of registered voters.
In a statement, Brad Raffensperger says he wants to ensure that anyone potentially affected by this change has the opportunity to update their information.
“This is standard procedure," said Tom Mahoney, Chairman of the Board of Elections. "Mandated by law. It’s common sense and it has to be done. It’s being done very carefully and by the book.”
The state could be clearing the voter’s registration for three reasons: they moved, their mail came back undelivered, or they haven’t voted in three years. Groups in Atlanta and locally are pushing back against this purge.
“Mostly they say because they have not voted," said Rebecca Roffles, League of Women Voters of Coastal Georgia. "They’ve been inactive voters. Your voter registration did not come with an expiration date. That was not a part of the deal that said you’ve got to do this or we’ll take it away from you.”
Locally, here’s what it will look like. Almost 20,000 voters in our viewing area are subject to be taken off the voter rolls. That includes about 7,000 in Chatham County, 3,700 in Liberty county, 2,400 in Bulloch and almost 2,000 in Bryan and Effingham counties.
As the push to next week’s election continues, the Chatham County Board of Elections confirms that these voters will not be turned away from Tuesday’s 2019 municipal election. Despite different opinions on the potential purge, everyone agrees it’s important to get out and vote next week.
“Are there trees planted on your street? Are the pot holes filled up? Is the crime out of control in your neighborhood? It determines your quality of life. You need to be at the polls and vote on behalf of your quality of life,” said Roffles.
“Politics has unfortunately gotten to a fever pitch and is very decisive. But election day is not that way. Election day unites us as American. We are all there to exercise our American right to vote,” said Mahoney.
The Secretary of State’s Office was not specific but said that new notification will be mailed out next week.