An elections bill up for consideration in the state House Wednesday has raised the ire of voter advocacy groups, who say it could disproportionately hurt minority Georgians trying to join the state’s voter rolls. House Bill 268, which is scheduled to be considered by the state House, would create a 26-month deadline for voting applicants to correct discrepancies in what they submit to the state when they register. It is being opposed by the same groups who sued Secretary of State Brian Kemp last year, alleging the system disenfranchised minority voters because the requirement blocked tens of thousands of them from voter rolls. That suit was settled two weeks ago.
Articles about voting issues in Georgia.
Georgia has settled a federal lawsuit that accused Secretary of State Brian Kemp of disenfranchising minority voters because of a requirement on registration forms that critics said blocked thousands of them from voter rolls. The state will no longer reject applications that don’t exactly match identification information in state and federal databases as part of the agreement, which was finalized late Thursday. “Based on the advice of the Attorney General’s office and in order to avoid the expense of further litigation, we agreed to settle this lawsuit,” said Candice Broce, Kemp’s spokeswoman. “The verification system Georgia had in place is important to accurately maintain our voter rolls and prevent illegal votes from being cast in our state’s elections.” The state had previously agreed to suspend the requirement.
Georgia lawmakers are advancing a bill that would allow the state to add “non-citizen” to the driver’s licenses of legal residents and green card holders living in the state. While some states have similar demarcation on the licenses of undocumented immigrants, activists say the breadth of Georgia’s proposal is unprecedented. “[This] is the first time that I’ve heard of any state considering … passing this kind of divisive action,” said Naomi Tsu, referencing the bill’s focus on immigrants living here entirely lawfully. Tsu is the deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Immigrant Justice Project. “We’re pretty concerned about this idea of branding some residents with a ‘scarlet letter’.” Representative Alan Powell, who sponsored the provision, cited preventing non-citizens from registering to vote as one of the bill’s merits. “I don’t care if you’re a regional vice-president for Mercedes,” Powell said before the motor vehicles committee passed the bill, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Powell noted that for non-citizens in the US that are able to get a driver’s license, “it at least ought to have on there ‘non-citizen’”.
Georgia: Ruling upheld for third-party presidential candidates in Georgia | Atlanta Journal Constitution
The federal appeals court in Atlanta on Wednesday upheld a ruling issued last year that found a portion of Georgia’s ballot access laws violated the U.S. Constitution. The one-sentence ruling, by a unanimous three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, adopted the “well-reasoned opinion” issued last March by U.S. District Judge Richard Story in Atlanta. Story had significantly lowered the number of signatures required for third-party candidates to petition to get on Georgia’s presidential ballot — from tens of thousands to 7,500. The 11th Circuit’s ruling was notable in that it was issued less than a week after it heard arguments on the case – an exceptionally quick turnaround for a ruling by the busy court that oversees cases out of Georgia, Florida and Alabama.
Georgia Democrats are facing an uphill climb as they try to expand voters’ rights by allowing same day registration and removing ID requirements. The minority lawmakers control less than one third of the state Legislature, but are putting forth a set of proposed laws to expand voter access. President Donald Trump falsely maintains there was massive voter fraud in the 2016 election. Georgia’s Secretary of State Brian Kemp has been adamant that no illegal votes were cast in the state. … Georgia already offers voters the option of registering online, but three Democratic lawmakers are pushing for registration to be even easier. They introduced bills to allow automatic voter registration when obtaining or renewing a drivers’ license, or during any other interactions with a state agency.
Georgia Democrats hoping to prevent Republicans from controlling the 2020 redistricting process have pre-filed legislation that would remove the power of reapportionment from the General Assembly. Instead, under a bill authored by state Sen. Pat Gardner of Atlanta, reapportionment would be handled by an independent bipartisan commission. Congressional and statewide House and Senate districts are redrawn every 10 years based on new U.S. Census numbers. The majority political party in the legislature controls the redistricting process, and Republicans have held large majorities under Georgia’s gold dome for more than a decade.
Georgia: Two more states say same DHS computer accessed their websites | Atlanta Journal Constitution
The National Association of Secretaries of State wants federal officials to help resolve concerns that a Department of Homeland Security computer made questionable visits to a number of state computers in recent months. The organization, based in Washington, “wants to make sure that we help the states in question get a quick resolution of this matter from the Department of Homeland Security and that there is a way to resolve it to everyone’s satisfaction,” Kay Stimson, spokeswoman for the association, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday. The organization surveyed its members after Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s staff traced what it considered a cyber threat against its network to a DHS-owned computer. The agency has denied any attempt to penetrate Georgia’s protected systems. Two states — Kentucky and West Virginia — discovered visits to their systems by the same computer involved in the Georgia incidents. Both of those states, however, said the visits did not appear to be malicious.
Georgia: Kemp questions DHS claim that no hacking attempt was made | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
While the U.S. Department of Homeland Security claimed last week that there was no attempt to hack into the state’s election computer system, Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office maintains it’s too soon to know if that’s true. A senior DHS official told Kemp last week that there was no attempt to hack Georgia’s network, but did acknowledge an agency employee left an electronic paper trail that might make it appear something nefarious was afoot. Kemp’s office said Monday that federal officials cannot say that with certainty. “After contacting our office late this afternoon, DHS has still not been able to confirm the origin or intent of this attack,” David Dove, Kemp’s chief of staff and legal counsel, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “This was a reconnaissance scan that raised red flags with our vendor’s counter-threat unit.”
Georgia: Homeland Security Says Georgia Computer Breach Incident Was Likely Inadvertent | Wall Street Journal
The Department of Homeland Security has reached a preliminary conclusion that what appeared to be an attempted breach of Georgia’s computer systems was due to an inadvertent configuration of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection computer, an official familiar with the matter said. The DHS official said a preliminary investigation had traced the incident to the computer of an employee at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection whose job responsibilities included verifying professional licensing information that are often maintained by state secretaries of state.
Georgia: Secretary of State’s office says it has traced an attempted voter hack to the Department of Homeland Security | PCWorld
Georgia’s secretary of state says the state was hit with an attempted hack of its voter registration database from an IP address linked to the federal Department of Homeland Security. The allegation by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is one of the more bizarre charges to come up in the recent spate of alarms about voting-system hacks. He said in a Facebook post on Thursday that he had been made aware of the failed attempt to breach the firewall protecting Georgia’s voter registration database. The attack was traced to an Internet Protocol address associated with DHS, he said. This morning I sent a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson demanding to know why,” he said in the post. The DHS said it had received the letter. “We are looking into the matter. DHS takes the trust of our public and private sector partners seriously, and we will respond to Secretary Kemp directly,” the department said in a statement.