Georgia Voter Questions Change of Voter Status
Stacey A. Hopkins, a registered voter in Fulton County, Georgia is questioning a letter she received from Georgia election officials. The letter states that Hopkins, a member of Georgia’s progressive political action community, will be moved to a list of inactive voters if she does not return a form to the Secretary of States office which requests personal information within 30 days.
Additionally, two of Hopkins’ young adult children still living at home received the same notice via the United States Postal Service.
Hopkins does not understand why she received this notice from either the Secretary of State of Georgia or the Fulton County Board of Elections.
According to the notice that the Hopkins family received, three events will trigger a 30 day notice of removal from the active to inactive voter roll in Georgia: A change of address with the United States Postal Service, failure to vote or update voter registration in three years; or official election mail has been returned when sent to the address of record on voter registration files.
Hopkins is at a loss for why she received this notice.
“None of these events apply to me. I voted just eight months ago in the General Election,” Hopkins said.
“I voted early during the early vote period at the Board of Elections office in downtown Atlanta. I went in to change my voter registration because I had moved since the last time I voted, so after changing my voter registration to reflect my new address, I voted,” the political activist said.
Hopkins said there would not have been a reason for the Secretary of State or Fulton County Board of Elections (FCBOE) to send her any election material at her former address as she had previously given her new address to the FCBOE when she voted last year.
“I don’t know what the State of Georgia is doing, but they need to have clear policies and procedures in place,” she said.
“No one wants to take ownership of sending this notice out. When I called Fulton County they told me they did not send it out and that I should check with the Secretary of State. When I called the Secretary of State’s office, they denied sending the correspondence and referred me back to Fulton County,” Hopkins said.
Based on 2014 data, Blacks make up 30.4 percent of all active voters in Georgia. A large percentage of those voters reside in Fulton County, Georgia. Hopkins and her family members who received these notices are Black Americans, who tend to vote independently of party machines.
Since the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, members of the Black community across the country have complained that Republicans are conspiring to reduce the number of Blacks on the voter’s roll by coming up with frivolous reasons to purge the voter list.
Brian Kemp (R), Georgia’s Secretary of State is expected to make a run for Governor in next year’s gubernatorial race.
“I know one thing,” Hopkins said, “They’d better not put me on the inactive voter roll.”
The American Civil Liberties Union is looking into whether they will file a case on Hopkins behalf.
Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist. He is a Contributor at The Hill, SCLC National Magazine, Southern Changers Magazine and Black College Nines. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org