The Day that the Rights Went Out in Georgia

By Joe Scherpenberg

U.S. District Court Judge Eleanor Ross granted an injunction mandating that Georgia allow some 3,000 individuals vote.The voters were “purged” from eligibility because their signatures did not live up to the controversial “exact match” standard, which flags voter registrations for small discrepancies as potentially noncitizens. Interestingly, the top election official in Georgia, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, is running for governor. 

This race has been especially contentious, even generating a call from former President Jimmy Carter for Kemp to step down as Secretary of State.

Of heightened concern is how race is playing into the supposed “purging.” The NAACP, one of the plaintiffs in the Federal Suit, alleges that this is occurring disproportionately to minority voters. Judge Ross cited this very reason in her opinion granting the injunction. The “exact match” problem may have affected upwards of 55,000 voters

 The exact match law is in place for the first time in 2018. This is especially pertinent because prior to the Supreme Court’s decision In Shelby County v. Holder, a change such as this would have been subject to pre-clearance from the United States Justice Department. Since this decision, where Chief Justice Roberts determined that incidents such as this were things of the past and that our country has changed, states that were formerly covered by the Voting Rights Act have been free to implement changes to voting laws without approval from the Justice Department.

These changes have included voter identification laws, redistricting maps, and of course, Georgia’s “exact match” law. All of which, it has been alleged, disproportionately suppress minority votes