Georgia plans to remove over 300,000 inactive voters from its rolls

The move comes ahead of the 2020 presidential election in a state with two Senate seats up for grabs.
Image: A line forms outside a polling site on election day in Atlanta, Georgia, on Nov. 6, 2018.
A line outside a polling site on Election Day in Atlanta last year.David Goldman / AP file

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By Dartunorro Clark

Georgia could soon cancel roughly 315,000 voter registrations in the state, the secretary of state's office confirmed Tuesday.

The move comes ahead of the 2020 presidential election. The state will also have an unusual "double-barreled" Senate contest, with both of its seats up for grabs at the same time.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's office said that it plans to send notices to voters who have been inactive for the past couple of elections and the notice will come with a paid return postage to give voters the opportunity to remain active. The notices will be sent out in November and people have 30 days to return the notice.

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Walter Jones, communications director for the office's voter education project, told NBC News that the number of potential cancellations constitutes roughly 4 percent of Georgians on the voter rolls.

“This is not an outstanding number, relatively speaking,” he said. “Registration is considered inactive if there has no interaction with the registration system.”

The 2018 gubernatorial election between now-Gov. Brian Kemp, the Republican secretary of state at the time, and Democrat Stacey Abrams was roiled by accusations of voter registration purges and suppression. Kemp won by less than 2 percent. Also, in July 2017, Georgia canceled more than 530,000 registration — the largest in state history, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The plan to remove the inactive voters was announced Monday, the paper reported.

Jones said the move is routine list maintenance but voters could also get off the inactive list by voting in Georgia's upcoming Nov. 5 election, returning the cancellation notice or registering with the state's department of driver services.

However, Fair Fight Action, a group founded by Abrams that is suing the state over its handling of elections, excoriated the move in a tweet on Monday.

“Voters should not lose their right to vote simply because they have decided not to express that right in recent elections,” the group said. “Anytime a voter purge is conducted, errors can be made, including active voters being wrongly included on the list.”