(ATLANTA)-Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger today called on the DeKalb County Board of Registrations and Elections to rescind its decision to send absentee ballot requests to both active and inactive voters, saying the move increases the possibility of voter fraud and diverts resources from critical voter services, such as proper staffing of polling places. The inactive voter list is largely comprised of inaccurate or obsolete mailing addresses.
“Sending absentee ballot requests to inactive voters is a waste of resources and could open the door to fraud,” said Raffensperger. “Individuals looking to undermine the integrity of Georgia’s elections could use the unclaimed requests to obtain absentee ballots fraudulently in the name of people who have moved elsewhere. Considering the long lines we saw at some polling places in DeKalb County on June 9 and the expected surge in turnout for the November elections, the DeKalb County elections board should focus its energy and resources in way that will better serve the voters. Instead of wasting tax dollars, DeKalb should use that money to fulfill its actual duties under Georgia law, which include ensuring that they have sufficient poll workers who are well trained on all equipment and operations, sufficient polling places that can handle the large volume expected in November, and sufficient staff to timely process the absentee ballot requests that do come in.”
The DeKalb County Board of Registrations and Elections recently voted to request funding from the County Commission to send absentee ballot request forms to all registered DeKalb County voters, both active and inactive. The move, according to media reports, would costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Registrants are added to the inactive list after having no contact with elections officials for five years, either through election activity or even just by updating their driver’s license; if mail sent to their listed address by election officials has been returned as nondeliverable; or if voters have submitted a change of address form to the U.S. Postal Service indicating they moved to a different county or state. Those voters are then sent a confirmation card by their county election officials asking them to confirm or update their address. If the voter fails to respond to the confirmation card, they are added to the inactive list.
Voters on the inactive list can vote in-person by showing their photo identification at the polling place like any other voter. They would then be returned to the active list.
In Georgia, there are around 7,415,000 registered voters. Of those, 411,00, slightly over 5 percent are listed as inactive. The vast majority, 7,004,000 are active voters.