Letters to the Editor

I want to add some explanatory information to a statement made in a letter to the editor (Aug. 12) from Southsiders for Peace.

The letter contained the following statement:

“In Georgia, over 87,000 people were purged from the (voter) rolls.”

It is dramatic to state that Georgia purged 87,000 people from its voter rolls, but what is the real story?

This is an enormous problem in today’s politically charged environment: facts are isolated and touted as truths without any explanatory information. 

There is a logical reason why people are purged from voter rolls in states with automatic voter registration, and it is not based on whimsy or political subterfuge.

I recently had the opportunity to understand the process.

I have a daughter who moved to Georgia in 2019, and I recently asked her if she had registered to vote there. I was surprised to learn from her that Georgia has automatic voter registration at the time a person, 18 or older, receives or renews a driver’s license or state ID card.

Since Georgia provides this service to its residents, it’s incumbent upon the Georgia secretary of state, per federal mandate, to periodically clean the voter lists. Unless the voter lists are periodically updated, it is possible for people to be registered to vote in multiple states.

It is a practice among many states to share voter rolls, but about 20 states do not participate in that practice.

To maintain further diligence regarding the true residential status of voters on Georgia voting lists, the Georgia secretary of state contacts voters who have not voted in seven years and requests that they verify their continuing status as residents.

These mailings are sent on a regular basis for one year. At the end of that year and after not voting for seven years, those who fail to respond are removed from the voter rolls.

This eight-year event coincidentally occurs at the time a driver’s license or state ID card must be renewed, so if you are a Georgia resident renewing your license or ID, you are automatically re-registered to vote. It is not terribly complicated. 

People should take the time to investigate statements before launching them as sensational, undisputed “facts.”

Everyone needs to make an effort to end the hyperbole in discussions of a political nature.

Mary Gallagher