ATLANTA – In Georgia, voters who are flagged as potential non-citizens are able to show proof of citizenship to deputy registrars at the polls and vote. Today, District Judge Eleanor Ross ordered that poll managers also be allowed to verify citizenship documentation. Once citizenship is verified, a voter can cast a regular ballot at the polls.
“Georgia already has a process in place to resolve citizenship issues at the polls. Thanks to liberal advocacy groups who wait until the eleventh hour to sue, we were forced to waste time and taxpayer dollars for the judge to tell us to do something that we already do,” stated Secretary of State Brian Kemp.
Federal and state law require states to compare information submitted with a voter registration application to information on file at the Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration. Unless proof of citizenship is submitted with the voter registration application, a voter may be flagged as a non-citizen if the Department of Driver Services’ records indicate that the person is not a U.S. citizen. The Georgia Department of Driver Services is REAL ID compliant, meaning that their records regarding citizenship meet the standards prescribed by the federal government. When a voter is shown to be a potential non-citizen, the voter is sent a letter with instructions on how to resolve the issue as soon as possible with their county election officials. Before today’s ruling, county officials had already sent these letters to all pending voters instructing them to resolve this verification issue as soon as possible. Voters may also resolve the issue at their polling place with proper proof of citizenship.
The previous process to resolve citizenship issues at the polls was in place pursuant to an agreement between the Secretary of State’s office and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The Lawyers’ Committee argued that the process to which they had previously agreed was insufficient.
Individuals who have been flagged and placed in pending status due to citizenship may vote in the November 6, 2018 general election in three ways:
– Prior to voting, and pursuant to the instruction in the notification letter to the individual received from the county board of registrars, the individual may provide the county registrar with a document showing the individual is a United States citizen via personal delivery, mail, email as an attachment, or a fax.
– At a polling location, the individual may provide proof of identity and acceptable proof of citizenship to a poll manager or a deputy registrar, and after verification, cast a regular ballot.
– At a polling location, if the applicant is unable to present one of the accepted forms of proof of citizenship at a polling location, then the applicant (a) may return to the polling location with sufficient proof of citizenship and follow (2) above, or (b) shall be offered the opportunity to cast a provisional ballot. If the applicant casts a provisional ballot, the applicant must then present proof of citizenship in person, or via fax, email, or text message to the county registrar before the close of the provisional ballot period on the Friday following the election.
Additional information, including a list of acceptable proof of citizenship documents, is available at the Secretary of State’s webpage. If you are a voter who is pending due to an issue with citizenship, contact your county board of registrars. Contact information for your county board of registrars is available here. Voters in pending status due to citizenship issue may also contact Holly Smith or Jansen Head at the Secretary of State’s Office Election Division at (404) 656-2871 or ElectionsWebEfirstname.lastname@example.org.