Georgia Secretary of State and Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp is facing a lawsuit for the state’s exact match voter-registration requirement. Under the protocol, registrations can be placed on hold for minor discrepancies, such as a misplaced hyphen, between the application form and the state’s records. The state legislature passed the current version of exact match into law after Kemp had to abandon implementing the system as an administrative rule due to lawsuit that prompted a legal settlement. The old version of the protocol allowed him to purge registrations with exact match issues from the rolls after 40 days if the voter doesn’t address the discrepancy, while the current law gives applicants 26 months to fix the issue.
An AP report found 53,000 voter registrations in Georgia are currently on hold, 70 percent of them from African Americans.
It’s important to note that those with registrations on hold will be able to vote in November if they show an ID that addresses the discrepancy when they show up at their polling place. However, if they do not vote this year and don’t otherwise fix the issue within the 26 allotted months, they could be purged by the 2020 elections.
While we’re on the subject of Georgia, check out my colleague Cameron Joseph’s big story on how voting rights has been a central battle in the governor’s race between Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams.
In some good news for voting rights in the state, the voter registration deadline for two counties hit by Hurricane Michael was extended for a week, through today.
The Arkansas Supreme Court upheld the state’s voter ID law, overturning a lower court’s ruling against the requirement. A similar law was blocked by the state Supreme Court in 2014. However, since then, a number of justices have been replaced on the Supreme Court, while the legislature passed the new version of the requirement as a constitutional amendment and included in it a provisional voting option for non-ID holders who sign an affidavit.
The state of Missouri is appealing a ruling against its own voter ID law. A state court judge barred the state from using language in a statement non-ID holders can sign attesting to their identity because that language was “misleading,” the judge said. State officials claimed the ruling caused “mass confusion” ahead of the elections.
Whether Wilbur Ross is deposed as part of the Census citizenship question case is in the Supreme Court’s hands. Justice Ginsburg put the plans last week to depose him, and a top DOJ official, on hold, and both the challengers and the Trump administration filed briefs arguing, respectively, that the Commerce secretary should and shouldn’t be forced to sit for a deposition in the case, which is set to go to trial next month.
Meanwhile, Ross was also admitted last week that he had spoken to the White House, namely Steve Bannon, then a top Trump advisor, about adding the question. Ross had testified in front of Congress earlier this year that he was not “aware” of any discussions between the White House and himself or members of his staff.
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