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. Dan, TX

    The republicans lost their way. It became about power and control of power rather than helping Americans to achieve the American dream. Shame on those leaders who betrayed the real republicans who helped to make this country great.

    October 27, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  2. Toooooooo late; I voted Dem!

    I live in Ga and I did voter registration for Obama on the weekends. I have already voted and have gotten alot of people actively involved in this election. I will take off work on the 4th to take the elderly around to cast their vote.

    October 27, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  3. john

    ALL I SEE IS BLUE BLUE BLUE BLUE BLUE
    BLUE IS BEAUTIFUL PLEASE DON'T FEEL ASHAMED TO JOIN THE BLUE FOR CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE
    GO OBAMA/BIDEN '08
    YES WE CAN

    October 27, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  4. Winnie Hussein.... in Montana

    Thank God that people have finally started to realize that the Republicans have been suppressing votes for years. This is, by and large, a group of people who cannot stand to see the status quo shaken up. I understand the corporate fat cats and wealthy not wanting to say goodbye to their meal ticket, but I have never understood the blue collar, uneducated mindset of people who vote Republican despite it being against their best interests.

    As a student of politics, history and the law, I feel that this election is America's last chance to stand up for something good, beneficial, and most important, inclusive. No, all Democrats are not good, they have their share of corruption, too, but this particular presidential candidate has the will, the vision, and the intelligence to gather us together as the nation we can be.

    And to m.c.: apparently you don't actual listen to Sen. Obama. Just today he ended a speech in Ohio with God Bless America. Pull your head out of your a## and pay attention.

    October 27, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  5. john

    SEN STEVENS NOW SARAH PALIN NEXT

    October 27, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  6. M. WINNERS

    Those neocon repugliCONs will do anything to steal an election and it's about time the courts have said "Enough".

    But you know those Fascist neocons, this one roadblock won't stop them from trying to steal or rig the election – They are probably rigging the Diebolt voting machines all across this country with the secret programming codes that Diebolt gave them as you read this...

    October 27, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  7. jp from Oregon

    To everyone who has not yet voted. Please vote. Remember that when you are concerned about election fairness and protecting everyone's right to vote, that Secretary of State is a very important vote.

    October 27, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  8. dinkiedow

    why don't we just let putin,castro,chaves,iran nut job vote.we already allow terrorist to teach!!this country is no longer worth defending if this who knows what is elected??had i known 40yrs ago i wouldn't sacrificed!!

    October 27, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  9. AZ4OBAMA

    Its great news because if they had denied the suit, other people who had doubt of their eligibility would have just decieded to stay home on election day, Am glad alot more people can now vote in Georgia, even though Arizona don't seem to be a possibility for Obama. But am still voting for him anyway.

    October 27, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  10. Northwest Washington

    After this election there needs to be a comprehensive investigation of all of the antics that the Republican and Democratic parties have pulled during this election. If there legal violations those involved need to go to jail. This garbage needs to stop.

    October 27, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  11. Voter

    Republicans try to "purge" voters in Georgia and keep forclosed home owners from voting in Michigan... and they have the audacity to blame registrations issues for Mickey Mouse by ACORN employees trying to make $8 /hr on Obama?!??!!

    October 27, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  12. LogicalJohnny

    This is a pretty brazen attempt at voter suppression.

    " It is unfortunate that the plaintiffs filed suit to halt this federally required process."

    It is unfortunate that the defendants even tried to suppress this federally protected right to vote in the first place, however not particularly surprising. There is a reason that this is supposed to happen at least 90 days before the election. You are supposed to be able to have ample time to get it straightened out so you can participate in the election. Easier for the already registered and eligible but rejected voter, easier for the administrative people to deal with the new registrations that always pour in LESS than 90 days before the election. Not only is this clearly an attempt to suppress the vote, its also an indication that some of the legally legitimate processes we use here are broken anyway, as this computer purging program shouldn't be flagging so many people who are clearly eligible to vote in the first place.

    October 27, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  13. Georgian Democrat

    Karen Handel is a disgrace to Georgia and to the fair and democratic ideals our country was founded upon. For those of you who don't know, it is rumored she is planning a run for the governorship in the coming years and the only way she can ensure that happens is by keeping her party in power by all means necessary. That is why she is reverting to these underhanded and illegal tactics and robbing eligible voters of their right to vote. While she may have lost this lawsuit, I am not sure what desperate means she will go to to ensure that her personal mission becomes a success. She has already filed a lawsuit against to remove Jim Martin (D) who is running for the Senate from the ballot, even after early voting has already begun. As you can tell, this is a selfish and conniving woman in our midst. I fear for the future of my state with someone like her in power.

    October 27, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  14. john

    SHAME ON YOU SARAH PALIN ITS TIME YOU CALM DOWN AND LET CHANGE PREVAIL......... IF NOT OF CHANGE YOU WOULD NEVER DRESS LIKE THAT.ITS TIME YOU TAKE TODD WITH YOU BACK TO ALASKA

    October 27, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  15. dinkiedow

    pick-pockit for president,"OBAMA".only you can stop a thief! vote MCCAIN/PALIN

    October 27, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  16. cyrusk

    GREAT

    THINGS ARE TURNING IN DEMOCRATS FVORE IN GEORGIGA.
    ON OF THE LATEST POLLS SHOWS OBAMA LEADING MCCAIN
    48 – 47.
    IT IS HOPEFUL THAT OBAMA WILL CARRY GEORGIA O VICTORY. i WISHED THAT OBAMA HAD MADE A VISIT TO GEORGIA IN THE REMAINING DAYS OF CAMPAIGN.
    THE SENATE RACE ALSO IS VERY CLOSE (CHAMBLEE, REP VS MARTIN DEM)
    WE NEED A RALLY IN GEORGIA FOR OBAMA.
    LETS CHANGE THE COLOR OF GEORGIA TO BLUE IN THIS ELECTION.
    SO FAR OVER A MILLION GEORGIAN HAVE VOTD ERALY.
    THERE IS A GREATER INTEREST IN THIS ELECTION THAN PAST.
    THANKS TO OBAMA/BIDEN TICKET.

    MNC SHOULD PAY A LIITLE MORE ATTENTION TO GA AN ARRANGE FOR AN OBAMA RALLY.

    October 27, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  17. Kim J

    Not sure I see anything wrong with making sure voters are actually U.S. citizens before they are allowed to vote. You all keep saying why are Republicans so focused on blocking people to vote, then get all bent out of shape when people say let's make sure these are legal voters and they are only voting once. Would it be so hard to just think that it is best for everyone if it was a completely legal election with no voter incidents on either side? So much for unity. Obama posters are not for unity. I've never seen a more divisive group of people.

    October 27, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  18. John

    When will we get over the suppression of minority voters in this country, after all they will soon be a majority and you have to think – do we want to be treated the same way?

    October 27, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  19. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    In view of the last two tampered with elections, I'd like to know what percentage of these flagged voters are Democrats.

    October 27, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  20. Dan

    NEWSFLASH!

    All we heard today from McCain is "Redestribution of wealth" as being OBAMA policy. They shamelessly throw names at him at will calling him socialist etc etc. I have one question for them....................

    WHAT DO THEY CALL PALIN TAKING MONEY (TAXING ) BIG OIL AND GIVING THE MONEY TO ALASKANS????????????? SHE BOASTS ABOUT IT ALL THE TIME AND IT HAS BEEN WIDELY REPORTED.

    These people are a big JOKE.
    VOTE: OBAMA-BIDEN

    October 27, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  21. Bitter Am already voted Dem in NV

    Down with the Party of Suppression!!

    Hooray for the people pressing the courts to act BEFORE another election is stolen!!

    October 27, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  22. Keith Franklin, Tn

    "kudos to acorn????" Will all this mindless garbage from the GOP ever stop. My niece is in school there in Georgia and received notice that she could not vote because she is NOT a citizen. That's pure garbage.

    I think that the GOP has seen what "REAL" Americans call Democracy in action.

    I pray to God that the days of Karl Rove attack like politics may soon be over forever

    October 27, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  23. Ex-Republican For Obama

    Republicans= Allegations, constitutional infractions, rights and liberties stripped of the citezens, fraud, unethical conduct.

    We can NOT allow this dictatorship to continue...ELIMINATE all republicans from office. They are a cancer to our nation. They have made a mockery of our democracy and must answer to the voters.

    Handel is the same as every other scumbag republican, they are ALL criminals!

    Democrats for liberty, and justice for all!

    October 27, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  24. Preston

    Why does it always seem to be Republicans in power who are trying to play illegal games with our electoral system? Are they afraid of a fair fight? It is an abomination that they violated the Voting Rights Act, a landmark piece of legislation of the 1960s, achieved only after unspeakable atrocities had been committed, and that reaffirmed the right of all African-Americans to vote, despite the attempts by Klan-loving, ax-handle-wielding, poll-tax-promulgating bigots to deny the rights which were supposed to have been guaranteed by the Fifteenth, and supplemented by the Nineteenth, Amendment to the Constitution. It's very simple, really. Anybody – ANYBODY – and particularly including any elected official, who attempts to take away the rights of citizens to vote, should be subjected to the most severe penalties allowed by law, including maximum prison terms. These outrages must be called by their correct name. They are nothing less than fascist attempts to subvert the democratic process. They must stop, and it is the responsibility of all Americans to stand up and say, "ENOUGH." Shame, SHAME, on the Republican party. Mr. Lincoln would undoubtedly be horrified at the perversion of his soaring ideals.

    October 27, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  25. bob

    m.c. –
    Obama ends every speech with "God bless you and God bless America"

    what that has to do with anything, I will let you explain in what I'm sure will be a well thought out response.

    October 27, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
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