A fight over alleged voter registration fraud in Georgia appears headed to the courts as early voting begins in the state, amid concerns that tens of thousands of Georgians who show up to vote may learn instead that their registration forms were never processed. More than 81,000 new voters were registered during this campaign cycle by the New Georgia Project, which targets unregistered African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans. Increased minority turnout in November could make the difference for Democrats in the state’s tight gubernatorial race between Gov. Nathan Deal (R) and Jason Carter (D) and the increasingly competitive U.S. Senate race between David Perdue (R) and Michelle Nunn (D). “When you talk to Republican campaign operatives, yeah, they’re quite worried” about the long term electoral impact of growth in minority turnout, said Charles Bullock, a political science professor at the University of Georgia. “They know the Georgia electorate isn’t going to become whiter.”
Voter registration efforts by New Georgia Project looked to tip the scales. “The Democratic Party, particularly in this state, has gone out and made a real effort to register people to vote,” said Georgia Sen. Fran Millar (R), who represents an area in DeKalb County which was targeted by New Georgia Project. “I can’t fault them for that … That’s a real wake up call for Republicans.”
Rep. Stacey Abrams (D), head of the group, called the push one of the largest concentrated efforts to register new voters in state history.
Last month, Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) said his office had received complaints about possible voter registration fraud and was investigating. They found found 50 applications that they deemed fraudulent, and another 49 they dubbed “suspicious.” Those numbers represent less than 1 percent of the total application forms turned in by the group.