Landmark Citizen-Led Challenge of Electors is on: Will test Unique Feature in Georgia law- True the Vote
On Friday, True the Vote, one of America’s largest voters’ rights organization, released the following press statement about their landmark citizen led court battle to challenge Electors on behalf of Georgia voters.
From their press release:
True the Vote Partners with Georgians in Every County to Preemptively Challenge 364,541 Potentially Ineligible Voters
Citizen-led Effort Seeks to Confirm All Votes Cast in U.S. Senate Runoff Elections are Legal, While Ensuring Any Voter Challenged Has Full Opportunity to Prove Their Voting Eligibility
ATLANTA, Georgia – True the Vote announced today it is submitting 364,541 Elector Challenges on behalf of Georgia voters representing all 159 counties. An Elector Challenge is a unique feature in Georgia law (GA. CODE ANN. § 21-2-230). It allows a voter to challenge the eligibility of any other voters in his or her county if probable cause exists to show that the challenged voter does not meet the qualifications legally required to cast a ballot. It represents one of the few vehicles that states have to update voter rolls ahead of an election without compromising any legitimate voters’ right to have their vote counted.
“Ongoing debates about the November election throughout the country have Americans focused intently on improving the integrity of our elections and restoring the faith of voters. Today we assisted concerned Georgia voters in taking a stand for the sanctity of every legal vote,” said Catherine Engelbrecht, the founder and president of True the Vote. “It is our hope that this historic challenge marks the beginning of the great awakening of American voters to serve our democracy by getting involved in the process.
“We are proud to be working alongside patriots from across the Peach State; Derek Somerville of Forsyth county and Mark Davis of Gwinnett county who have been leading citizen efforts to highlight issues in Georgia’s voter rolls, Mark Williams of Gwinnett County who coordinated among eight print shops to get written challenges printed and delivered within 48 hours, and Ron Johnson of Jackson County and James Cooper of Walton County, who led the charge in recruiting hundreds of volunteer challengers across the state,” Engelbrecht continued. “Everyone pitched in. This is the power of citizen engagement and the core of what True the Vote exists to do in our pursuit of free, fair and secure elections.”
Today’s landmark coordinated challenge is the result of True the Vote’s voter registry research, which identified 124,114 registered voters who no longer reside in the county of record and 240,427 voters who no longer reside in the state of Georgia, according to filings with the United States Postal Service National Change of Address (NCOA) and other supporting commercial databases. True the Vote’s research was performed uniformly across all counties, without regard to any demographic or voting history.
“Filing the challenges preemptively, before absentee ballots are opened, will help ensure only legal, eligible votes are counted in Georgia’s January 5 runoff elections,” Engelbrecht concluded.
According to Georgia law, an Elector Challenge must be filed before a vote is cast. Once a vote has been cast, or in the case of absentee ballots, once the ballot has been removed from its signed envelope, there is no way to identify which ballot belongs to the ineligible party.
In fact, the best way to ensure only eligible voters are voting in the upcoming runoff elections is through Elector Challenges. States must comply with National Voter Registration Act standards in cleaning their voter rolls. Under Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act, states are required to conduct a general voter registration list maintenance program that makes a reasonable effort to remove ineligible voters. The NVRA’s standards limit removal of names only to very narrow conditions, with ineligible names remaining on the list over an extended period of time.
An Elector Challenge does not remove voter names from the registry. Voters who have been challenged will have the opportunity, via GA. CODE ANN. § 21-2-230 to prove eligibility and still have their vote counted in the upcoming runoff election.
“I’ve said since Election Day that I must follow the law in the execution of our elections, and I’ve also encouraged Georgians to report any suspected problems for my office to investigate,” said Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “Though federal law restricts our ability to update our voter registration lists, the Elector Challenge is a vehicle under our law to ensure voter integrity. I support any effort that builds faith in our election system that follows the proper legal procedure.”
True the Vote (TTV) is an IRS-designated 501(c)3 voters’ rights organization, founded to inspire and equip volunteers for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information, please visit www.truethevote.org.
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