Heroic Judge Prevents Purge Of 14k+ Mostly Minority Voters


Georgia Judge Jane Barwick has ruled that local authorities in Fulton County, Georgia, are not required to hold records review hearings that could have resulted in the removal of more than 14,000 voters from local registration records with weeks to go until the general election. It’s two local citizens and their attorney, Ray Smith, who had been attempting to compel county authorities to review the records and potentially remove large numbers of voters from local registration files.

As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explains, Smith claims that his team has “five bankers boxes of affidavits from people saying they are no longer registered to vote at their previous address,” but there’s no particular evidence that any voter who is still registered at any of these old addresses might try to vote at the polling places corresponding with their old addresses. With weeks to go until the general election, what if voters who weren’t even actually registered at an old address got caught in the “purge”?

County lawyer David Lowman said that “federal law prohibits Fulton officials from removing voters from the rolls so close to a federal election,” the Journal-Constitution explains. Fulton County has a substantial non-white population.

Georgia has had issues with these sorts of things in the recent past. Around the 2018 elections, when Republican and then-Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp eked out a surprisingly narrow victory in the gubernatorial race over Democrat Stacey Abrams, news broke that Kemp’s team had allegedly “improperly purged more than 340,000 voters from the state’s registration rolls,” according to an investigation conducted under the auspices of journalist Greg Palast and reported on by The Guardian. The team behind that investigation concluded that 334,134 voters who had been removed from state voter rolls throughout 2016 and 2017 on the grounds that they had moved actually still lived at the same address at which they had originally registered to vote.

Another legal challenge alleged that Kemp had “blocked the registrations of 50,000 would-be voters, 80% of them black, Latino or Asian, because of minor discrepancies in the spelling or spacing of their name,” The Guardian adds. In the run-up to the upcoming elections on the national level, President Donald Trump himself has been leading a charge to undercut the integrity of the process. He has lied about the prevalence of fraud within mail-in voting, and he has suggested that he might not even accept the results if he loses.