Local counties under order to reopen voter registration in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District face a backlog of tens of thousands of applications and have already begun working overtime to process them all in time for the June 20 runoff election. Still, despite concerns that a federal judge’s order would back them into a corner, no problems have been reported so far as the counties themselves appear to have hit the ground running. “Everything has been going very smoothly,” said Candice Broce, a spokeswoman for Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the state’s top elections official. All three counties that have areas in the 6th District — Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton — had contingency plans in place in anticipation of Thursday’s ruling. The first of tens of thousands of backlogged registration applications have already begun to be processed, although officials said it is impossible to know how many of them involve residents in each county who actually reside in the district itself. That’s because it’s not readily apparent on the applications themselves.
As is the practice statewide to avoid mix-ups and prioritize election work, the counties had temporarily stopped processing the applications on March 20 — the original registration deadline in the April 18 special election to fill former U.S. Rep. Tom Price’s seat. The seat came open when Price was confirmed as President Donald Trump’s new health and human services secretary.
In the meantime, the counties received hundreds of new or updated registrations applications daily. The volume of those applications has been on the rise since last year, when the state changed how applicants or anyone updating their information through the state Department of Driver Services can ping elections officials to either confirm their status or newly register.