October 27th, 2008
08:23 PM ET
3 years ago

Thousands of flagged voters can vote, court rules

(CNN) - Georgia must allow thousands of people whose citizenship was questioned by the state's new voter verification system to vote in the upcoming election, a panel of federal judges ruled Monday.

The court ruling will affect about 4,500 people in Georgia who had been "flagged" by the new voter verification system and faced being denied a chance to vote Nov. 4 because their citizenship was questioned.

It could also affect more than 50,000 other registered Georgia voters also flagged by the new system because of mismatches in their personal identification information, such as discrepancies in addresses.

The three-judge panel also ordered Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel to inform all the flagged voters that they can vote.

"We are very pleased that the court agreed with our legal position that the state violated the Voting Rights Act," said Elise Shore, a lawyer with one of the civil right groups who brought the lawsuit.

Shore said the ruling applies to the 4,500 Georgians that were flagged for citizenship reasons and she was uncertain whether it applied to the some 50,000 others that were flagged for other reasons.

The issue was raised in a lawsuit filed on behalf of a Georgia college student who claimed that the secretary of state's voter verification system violated the Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act and caused an illegal purge of voters in the weeks before the election.

Federal law prohibits widespread voter purges within 90 days of the election. In Georgia, that has become a heated issue with some calling the purge "voter suppression."

Handel, a Republican who began working on purging voter rolls from the time of her election in 2006, said the act of verifying voters is not voter suppression.

"I'm grateful for the District Court panel's decision which reinforces the state's voter registration verification procedures," Handel said in a statement. " It is unfortunate that the plaintiffs filed suit to halt this federally required process."


Filed under: Georgia • Voter Problems
soundoff (251 Responses)
  1. John S

    Obama all the way. Nova Scotia Canada

    October 27, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  2. NOW THAT CNN HAS SPOKEN

    Kudos to ACORN

    October 27, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  3. carol

    Thank heaven these people are getting to vote......why is there always such controversary with these darn elections......it happens every election cycle!!!!!!
    You would think by now that we would have sorted out all these problems over the years......is there anyone out there who can simplify the voting system?????????///
    All we want to do is go in and vote for the candidate we want, is that too much to ask.....and every time we have to go through the same old
    stuff, it is very frustrating.
    Having said all that I now feel better and would like to ask any voters who not voted to go and do it as soon as possible.....I have voted already and must admit I had no problem here in Florida.
    Sen Obama is my candidate and the only choice as far as I'm concerned.....intelligent....calm...inclusive of all people....command of
    the facts...and boy does he have charisma.
    Need I say anymore......he is a President in waiting and I for one will be very proud to call him President Obama.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    October 27, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  4. republicans hate america

    its the only way the GOP will play...dirty

    October 27, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  5. Ethan of NJ

    Wonderful, I was praying for Handel's unethical voter exclsuions to be overturned. This is a great day for Democracy!

    October 27, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  6. Ted:Canada

    Foreign Polls Show of the major free democratic states.

    England for Obama
    Germany for Obama
    France for Obama
    Australia for Obama
    Italy for Obama
    Canada for Obama

    Israel for McCain

    The “line” in the sand has been drawn.

    Now the USA must choose!!! VOTE!

    October 27, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  7. Brian from PA

    I'm all for letting everyone vote, but it concerns me that there could be thousands of people voting in our election who may or may not even be citizens. If they're citizens, great, but if they're not, we're letting our nation's leader be chosen by citizens of outside countries...

    October 27, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  8. Tomkat in Seattle

    I think there will be an overwhelming support to oust the GOP incumbents. Flush America's wound of the poison from the Bush/GOP cult.

    Vote Obama/Biden!

    -Tomkat-

    October 27, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  9. Chelle in Fla

    in responce to m.c:
    Apparently you have never heard Obama give a speech because ALL the candidate end their speehes with God Bless America. Yes this is a GREAT country but we are in the dumps right now, what are you talking about???

    October 27, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  10. ED FL

    Georgias elected GOP members are not very bright. Look what they allowed when Chambliss and fellow crooks did to a real hero and screwed him out of his office. When you have the likes of sick wife ditching by adulterer Gingrich and slick willie Bob Barr getting booted out of office due to ehical problems Georgia needs a complete makeover of politicos.

    October 27, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  11. MarylouSC

    there is still the issue of the confusing ballot in North Carolina, where the fear is that over 100,000 voters did not cast a vote for PRESIDENT. If they vote straight ticket and do not also vote PRESIDENT in addition, there will be no vote cast for President. The officials said "too bad if they don't know how to vote"...

    October 27, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  12. Hillary for McCain

    Even the courts favoring Obama so for sure he will win good luck to all of them hope they don't have a nightmare every night when they fall asleep. But if McCain lose they can sleep at night because they know they didn't use the dirty trick.

    October 27, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  13. voter

    I am glad that the situaton has been settled. It is frustrating when eligible voters are being purged from the list because of their ethnicity, social economic status and party affiliation. CO has a lawsuit because the republican secreatary of state purged over 30,000 eligible voters from the list. Hope this settles fast.

    October 27, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  14. B from MN

    If you can't prove you are a citizen you should not be able to vote. The fraud is letting them vote, not stopping them. This country has gone insane. This isn't democracy. Voter fraud at its finest.

    Your vote will never matter 08. Think for yourself.

    October 27, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  15. cinnamonape

    D'ya think that more than a few of these people who may even be Republicans may now vote for Obama and the Democrats.

    When the Republicans try to take away your right to vote that would likely be a game changer. This could mean another 55,000 votes for Obama.

    October 27, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  16. Joel

    Voter rolls need to be purged of ineligible voters. However, that needed to be done months ago, giving flagged voters plenty of time to remedy the situation. Obama No Doubt!, there is no physical connection, nor should there be, between a voter and his or her vote. There is no way void a voter's ballot after the election. At least that is the case here in Iowa; I don't know what insane system your state may use. And there is no republican conspiracy to suppress voter turnout.

    Bob Barr 2008

    October 27, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  17. Marc in MO

    What these states are doing with their secret, suspiciously timed purges is the true voter fraud in the form of suppresion. No thinking person believes all of that propaganda about ACORN trying to cause vote fraud. Not even close McCain/Palin. It just shows how desperate and pathetic you are.

    October 27, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  18. Bill

    Holy Smokes!! There might be some justice after all in voting resolutions, instead of uniform kowtowing to republican machinations. Keep it up! Not another 2000 or 2004!

    October 27, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  19. AUC

    We can send people to the moon but can't create a voting machine or secure voting process for its American citizens!!

    Please VOTE EARLY – Obama/Biden 08/12!!!!!

    Only in America..........

    October 27, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  20. Rufus the Red Fox

    TO m.c who posted on October 27th, 2008 9:12 pm ET
    " I think this country is wonderful!!! VOTE McCain!!!!"

    . This country is wonderful! BUt you have not been thinking.
    Bush < SillY Sarah and McCain have Peed on it and spread Manure on it.
    Obama to do the cleanup.
    Think this through since you claim to be thinking person

    October 27, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  21. All's fair in love and war

    Voter fraud will decide this election, I fear. Either side will steal the election, another legacy that McCain’s friend W left us. If the vote is truly counted it will be a landslide for Obama/Biden. With less than a week to go, John McCain is another day older and deeper in the polls and Sarah Palin is dressing down to reflect her diminished relevance in this campaign.

    October 27, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  22. Correction

    To correct m.c. I have to -quote- the end of Mr. Obama's Ohio speech today: "Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless America." I don't suppose they have tuned into his speeches, because he goes on an awful lot about how wonderful America is, and closes them all this way.

    Now, it's not voting for McCain I take issue with. That's totally their right. It's the falsehood I take issue with. Don't say someone does or doesn't do or say something when there is proof that they do. :D

    So, anyway. My 2 cents also says it's great everyone can get their vote in also.

    October 27, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  23. DK

    power to Democracy and freedom ... Hope there is no repeat of 2000.

    October 27, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  24. bridgette

    Why do Repulicans hate America so much? Why are they constantly trying to supress the vote. Again, can somone please explain to me why do the Republicans or the GOP as they now like to be called hate America so much?

    October 27, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  25. Annie, Atlanta

    Thank goodness at least part of our judicial system still works.

    October 27, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
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