Representing a coalition of voting rights, civil liberties, and minority rights groups, Dechert filed suit in an Atlanta federal district court on Monday accusing Georgia state officials of neglecting their obligations under federal law to provide voter registration services to low income residents at public aid offices.
Under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), states are required to distribute registration forms every time an individual fills out an application for public assistance (such as food stamps or Medicaid). The law, known as the “motor voter” law, was passed during the Clinton Administration and also required state motor vehicles departments to provide voter registration applications. Dechert, which is working pro bono, filed the complaint on behalf of the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP and the Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda.
… According to the complaint, the number of voter registrations from public assistance offices declined steadily since the 1995-1996 reporting period, when Georgia reported more than 100,000 such registrations to just 4,430 in 2010.
Additionally, 39 counties failed to register a single voter from a Georgia DHS office in at least one out of the preceding seven years and one office went a seven-year period without signing up a single voter. By contrast, Georgia reported almost 70,000 applications for food stamps a month in 2009.
“The number of people receiving public assistance is increasing, but the number of registrants through public assistance is decreasing,” says Steiner, who obtained a settlement in the Ohio matter at the end of 2009. “That doesn’t make sense.”
Full Article: Dechert Files Voting Rights Lawsuit in Georgia.