Work continues on Tybee Island’s voter rolls ahead of next election

Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 4:25 PM EDT
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - The effort to clean Tybee’s voter rolls continues.

After comparing Tybee’s population size of eligible voters to how many people voted in the November 2021 municipal election, some residents and the city clerk have been working to compile a list of people they’d like the Chatham County Board of Registrars to challenge.

So far, there have been two rounds of challenges to make sure Tybee’s voter rolls are accurate ahead of the next election.

The Chairman of the Chatham County Board of Registrars, Colin McRae, said, “our board is not tasked with looking backwards and nullifying votes in the past. That’s not something we can do. What we can do is make sure that going forward that those who are not properly registered in a location don’t get to vote in that location in the future.”

“This is not denying anybody’s right to vote. It’s just we need clarification if you’re truly eligible or not,” said Ken Williams, who lives on the island.

After the first round of challenges brought forth by the island’s city clerk, who’s in charge of the voter rolls, Chairman of Chatham County Board of Registrars Colin McRae says this is what they found.

“There were a number of residents who had registered on Tybee, but had a homestead elsewhere we had to go by statute and say that they do not live on Tybee.”

McRae says this means if they vote at their Tybee address again, they’ll be flagged and asked to provide identification. They can be deemed ineligible if they can’t provide this documentation.

Just this month another round took place. This time, McRae says nearly 50 names were challenged.

“If there are people registered to vote here, but don’t live here then that dilutes the vote of the permanent residents here,” said Williams.

Ken Williams says they’re only looking at the list of more than 1,300 voters who voted in November 2021. Of those, he says they found 110 with inconsistencies.

He says this doesn’t mean they’re all ineligible or violating rules.

“When someone is challenged it doesn’t mean that there’s an accusation of voter fraud. It simply means there’s an inconsistency that needs corrected.”

McRae says people who are being challenged do have the chance to dispute it.

“These Tybee challenges are additional to what we do every month in updating and scrutinizing to make sure that it’s accurate and only reflects those who are eligible to vote.”

McRae says it’s unclear how many people who are being challenged voted in the November 2021 municipal election. He did say that a lot of them haven’t voted in years.

Some of the names brought up at this month’s meeting were tabled for further review and will be brought up at the next meeting in July.

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