Civil rights groups are asking a federal judge to allow new Americans to vote in Georgia’s election if they show proof of citizenship. The groups filed an emergency motion Friday asking the courts to intervene so that citizens inaccurately labeled as non-citizens can still vote in this year’s race for governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp. The voter registrations of more than 3,600 people have been put on hold in Georgia because their citizenship hasn’t been verified. These potential voters are among over 53,000 people whose registrations are pending because of the state’s “exact match” law requiring registration applications to match government records.
The “exact match” process relies on driver’s license records that aren’t always updated when a non-citizen becomes a citizen, according to the plaintiffs. Their court motion asks precinct workers to accept proof of citizenship at the polls, in addition to photo ID, which is already required to vote in Georgia.
“The voters impacted by this process are often newly naturalized citizens voting for the first time,” said Danielle Lang, an attorney for the Campaign Legal Center. “We should be welcoming them to our political community, not interrogating them.”
The emergency motion is part of a lawsuit filed last week that challenges Georgia’s “exact match” law. A hearing on the motion has been scheduled for Oct. 29.