Georgia officials removed an estimated 107,000 people from voter rolls because they decided not to vote in prior elections, according to a new report.
An APM Reports analysis found the voters were removed under the state’s “use it or lose it” law, which starts a process for removing people from voter rolls if they fail to vote, respond to a notice or make contact with election officials over a three-year period.
After that three-year span, those who don’t vote or make contact with authorities in two elections can be purged from the voter rolls under the Georgia law.
Such laws, generally enacted by GOP governments, have been growing more common, with at least nine states now having them, according to APM Reports.
Voter suppression has become a big issue in the Georgia governor’s race, where Republican Brian Kemp is running against Democrat Stacy Abrams. Abrams would become the first black woman to serve as a U.S. governor in history if elected.
Kemp is Georgia’s secretary of state, and his office oversees elections. Abrams has argued that Georgia laws and Kemp’s office have acted to suppress the votes of African-Americans in the state. Kemp says his office is following Georgia law and that he has acted to prevent voter fraud.
The two are locked in a tight race that could be decided by a relatively small number of voters.
The APM investigation concluded that many people struck from voter rolls under “use it or lose it” laws do not know that they have been dropped and are likely to be surprised if they are turned away from the polls on Nov. 6.
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Officials who support the laws argue that the policy helps prevent voter fraud, saying that citizens in good standing who have not turned out to multiple elections most likely moved.