September 25, 2019

ATLANTA — The ACLU of Georgia and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, on behalf of the New Georgia Project and the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, sent a letter demanding that the DeKalb County Board of Registration and Elections cease its removal of registered voters from its rolls on illegal residency-based grounds.

According to board minutes for the August 1, 2019, meeting, the board removed all registered voters who listed as their residence 444 Sycamore Drive, Decatur, GA 30030, a place for people with mental disabilities who need housing to avoid psychiatric hospitalization. Allegedly, the removal request had come from the City of Decatur. On August 20th, the ACLU of Georgia and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sent a letter to the board warning it that the removal of these voters was illegal.

Since then, the ACLU of Georgia and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law have learned that, contrary to what the Board Minutes reflect, the City of Decatur never filed any challenge at all. Instead, the challenge was actually initiated by an employee of the DeKalb Board of Registration and Elections who had a personal interest in the property at issue.  

To protect the sacred, constitutional right to vote for all citizens living in DeKalb County, the ACLU of Georgia and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law have demanded that DeKalb County adopt the following policy on residency-based voter challenges so that the county complies with state and federal law.

  • Any challenge to an individual’s voter registration must be brought by a registered voter of the same county or municipality as the challenged voter. Government entities, including the board itself, are prohibited from filing or encouraging these challenges.
     
  • Any challenge must be in writing and specify distinctly the legal grounds of said challenge.
     
  • Federal law prohibits the removal of any voter on the grounds that they have moved from the address listed under the registration without providing notice and a two-to-four year waiting period (two federal general election cycles).

“Around the state, we continually find people making up ways to stop U.S. citizens from exercising their sacred, constitutional right to vote,” said Sean J. Young, legal director of the ACLU of Georgia. “It’s critical that Georgia have elections officials who protect this sacred right.” 

Click here for the legal documents in this case.

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