After more than 668,000 voter registrations were canceled in Georgia in 2017, election officials are removing far fewer people from voting rolls this election year. Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who oversees elections, is no longer purging names from the state’s list of 6.8 million eligible voters as he runs for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams. But Kemp’s record of trimming inactive registered voters — more than 1 million since he took office in 2010 — is drawing criticism from his opponents who say he’s limiting opportunities to vote, especially among low-income and minority Georgians who are more likely to have their registrations canceled.
Kemp counters those attacks by noting overall growth in the numbers of registered voters in Georgia. There are about 1 million more registered voters in Georgia today than there were eight years ago, outpacing the state’s population growth of nearly 742,000 new residents in that period.
Under Kemp, voter registration cancellations skyrocketed, especially among those who hadn’t voted in recent years or confirmed their last known address.
“It’s discouraging voters rather than a celebration of democracy that we’d want to see,” said Andrea Young, the executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. “There should be an interest in keeping Georgia citizens in the voter pool as opposed to taking every opportunity to take people off.”