In his own words.
ATLANTA – On July 18, 2018, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, representing several entities, sent a litigation threat to Secretary of State Brian Kemp. This group claims that a new Georgia law giving first-time registrants twenty-six (26) months to rectify failed verification through the Department of Driver’s Services or Social Security Administration violates the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
Since January 2014, Georgia elections officials have processed 5,613,806 voter registration forms in Georgia. Less than one percent (.92%) of these applicants failed verification and sit in pending status. Of those pending applicants, forty percent (40%) submitted paper forms in 2014 through the New Georgia Project, one of the Lawyers’ Committee’s clients in this threatened litigation.
To address the Lawyers’ Committee’s claims, Kemp issues this statement:
“November 6, 2018 is right around the corner, which means it’s high time for another frivolous lawsuit from liberal activist groups. They pulled the same stunt in 2014 and 2016, and it’s no surprise that they’re planning the same tactics this year. If I were a betting man, I’d wager that they’ll file their lawsuit within the next couple of weeks, giving themselves enough lead time to secure favorable coverage with their media allies every day between now and the general election.”
“Despite what my friends at the Lawyers’ Committee claim, federal and state law clearly authorize Georgia’s matching process for new registrants, and the 11th Circuit has already ruled in favor of a similar law in Florida. Not a single voter whose status is pending for failure to verify will get rejected this election cycle. The twenty-six-month period affords any pending applicant plenty of time to participate in a federal election – when expected turnout is highest – so the applicant has the best opportunity to provide the necessary information and move to active status.
“Under my tenure as Secretary of State, Georgia has shattered records for voter registration and turn-out across all demographic groups. Now, Georgia has an online voter registration website and a dedicated website for voters to get on-demand, personalized election information. Neither existed before I took office. We have a wildly successful Student Ambassador Program for 1,500 young adults to learn how to register their peers to vote, engage in civics, and participate in the electoral process. Voter registration in this key demographic group – which represents our nation’s future leaders – has doubled since I announced this new program.
“Despite any claim to the contrary, it has never been easier to register to vote in Georgia and actively engage in the electoral process. The numbers do not lie. I defeated the Lawyers’ Committee and their clients in 2014, and I look forward to successfully defending Georgia’s common-sense verification law if they move forward with this litigation.”
The attached PDF provides background on the enactment of O.C.G.A. § 21-2-220.1 through Georgia Act 250 (House Bill 268).
Since operating a motor vehicle has nothing to do with performing one’s civic duties, conditioning a citizen’s ability to vote on producing a license is inappropriate. Moreover, the Social Security or pension program is voluntary and the law setting it up specifies that the program number is not to be used as a universal identification number. It is to get around this prohibition that the last four digits of the SSN are being requested by various commercial interests, but that sequence is not unique. It proves nothing.
When the principle of probity is properly respected, a person’s affirmation of citizenship is sufficient.