A federal lawsuit has accused Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp of illegally bumping Georgia voters off the state’s rolls ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Kemp’s office has denied the claim. The suit filed by the Georgia NAACP and government watchdog group Common Cause said the state is violating the National Voter Registration Act because of its longtime practice of sending “confirmation of address” notices to voters who haven’t cast a ballot in three years — and removing them from active status if they eventually do not respond. “People have a right to vote and they also have a constitutional right not to vote,” said attorney Emmet J. Bondurant, who is representing the groups. Federal law, he said, does not allow state officials to demand confirmation of address if they have no reason to believe a voter has moved other than that they have not cast a ballot.
Kemp’s office, however, has adamantly denied it removes voters because they do not vote. In a letter describing the process, the state Attorney General’s Office said voters are removed from the rolls only after they have not had any contact with election officials in Georgia for a minimum of seven years and they have not returned a notice to confirm their residence.
The procedure, state officials said, is allowed by federal law.
In a statement, Kemp called the lawsuit “completely without merit and frivolous.” He said the state has already “clearly explained to plaintiff’s counsel multiple times that Georgia law is consistent” with the National Voter Registration Act.