October 27th, 2008
08:23 PM ET
11 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. king

    Go out and Vote ! Go out and Vote !! Go out and Vote!!! Go out and Vote!!! Go out andVote!!!! Go out and Vote !!!! GO out and Vote!!!!! Go out and Vote!!!!!! GO out and Vote...vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote vote votew vote vote vote vote vote vote out the GOP............lets you wake up to another 4years of MCBush senior ,smell the coffee.every great leap started with a dream,then an idea,then a commitment,then a resolute will to stick it thru and then the change we want.People florida is turning blue.help make it happen go out now and vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvote

    October 27, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  2. Janice

    LET ANYBODY AND EVERBODY VOTE, no matter what crime they have committed, it couldn't possible be as bad as what our government of the last 8 years has done to America. This is bogus business when we can't get this even close to right.

    October 27, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  3. Desmond Sequeira

    Good for them. Make sure Georgia's Republican mafia does not prevent the people from voting OBAMA/Biden

    October 27, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  4. Beacn

    What a disgrace. Anyone who seeks to overturn the will of the people is a disgrace to society. Shame on you Handel. Is it really worth it?

    We send representatives to other countries to monitor their elections, maybe it's time we get disinterested parties to monitor our elections.

    October 27, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  5. Texas Teacher

    Whoa.... this woman sIf you sounds like Palin.... the typical GOP. If you get caught, play a little SWITCHaroo!!! You know.... the Republican Two Step.... Side Step.... D.C. Shuffle! They have gotten away with it for 8 years.... Must stunning that it is NOT working this time around!

    Poor Republicans: "You can fool all of the People some of the time. And some of the People all of the time. But you CANNOT fool ALL of the PEOPLE ALL of the TIME! Get used to it, Repubs, we are on to you this time around!

    We, the People, are awake..... AND Voting! Obama, 2008!

    October 27, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  6. Texas Teacher

    Oh, my..... you know she meant "sounds like Palin." Fumble fingers.... teachers should be in bed asleep at this time. The future of our children AND the country depends on our ability to teach these young people the RIGHT way to do things.... Honestly! The McCain Camp gives them all the wrong models.... Time for some TRUTH in Journalism. Thank you, CNN, for giving it a Shot unlike Lou Dobbs, Glen Beck, FoxNews, Rush Limbaugh, and their ilk!

    October 27, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  7. Matt

    just wait

    they will seek a preliminary injuction somewhere to stop all voting there

    October 27, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  8. dustin

    haha larry, the mafia didn't get jfk elected, it was really LBJ bringing in the southern vote that put him over the top but glad to see your in favor of keeping voters like this young college kid from voting just because they don't vote the way you want.

    October 27, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  9. I am For OBAMA/BIDEN

    Wonderful......The world is waching us.

    October 27, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  10. Brian

    I get a little nervous knowing that idiots like "m.c." get to be involved in the process of picking the next leader of the free World. Pray to God that idiots like "m.c." don't reproduce. God Bless Obama!

    October 27, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  11. John Bohstedt

    Electoral Safeguards?
    We need safeguards to prevent the Rove-infested GOP from depriving voters of their rights as in 2000 and 2004, singing
    "Carry me back to old Segregation times!"
    Do you really want to bet your civil rights on whether your state's records all match up? Not in my state!

    October 27, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  12. Chris (SC)

    I lived and voted in Ga. back in 2004, I felt hopeless back then being one of the few in that state to vote for Kerry and even now living in South Carolina is kind of the same way but at least I got the chance to vote.

    I love how Republicans complain about voter registration fraud, like Mickey Mouse is going to vote on Nov. 4th, when if you really think about it, if the economy wasn't so bad those ACORN people wouldn't have had to make up new voters to keep their crappy jobs in the first place. This on the other hand, when American citizens aren't allowed to vote because of a systematic attack to keep a dying political group (republicans) in office is just awful and makes me sick thinking about it.

    Just remember Obama/Biden folks, get out and vote even if you don't think your vote will count in your state, you never know and at least you will be showing your support instead of letting more of this crap happen for 4 more years.

    October 28, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  13. Chris - Seattle

    Hey America!

    News flash...

    Be very careful what you say & do & how you say & do it, because "it" will come back and bite you sooner or later!

    There are a lot of people in this world, not just politicians, that haven't figured that out yet even after a millenia of trying!!!

    I'd have to say Republicans are leading that group into oblivion though, which is a good thing! Because right now, left & right, all you see & hear is folks tired of the B.S. that they're seeing happening, whistle blowing and pulling the covers off a pathetic orgy of Corporate & Government greed & abuse of power added to the already murderous tendencies we seem to have!!!

    I don't know about you! But, I kinda see the writing on the wall and it ain't pretty!

    For all you bigoted, arrogant, stubborn, un-educated, too opinionated fools out there, be careful what you spit on your blogs! Big brotha is listening in ways you'd only see in a Batman movie!

    "O" in "08"


    p.s. ...here's a man and a movement pontificating transperency & accountability in it all and all a lot of Americans wanna do is lynch da brotha, ya'll ridiculous!!! I can't believe some of the blogs people type!!! Whew! This country is in trouble!!!

    October 28, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  14. Sam

    These formerly flagged voters need to get out and vote for Obama and stick it to the GOP for trying to take away the most important right of being an American citizen.

    October 28, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  15. j

    Legitimate voters should not be disenfranchised and I'm glad the courts are on the side of the voters. America can do better than this. We can't keep having this problem every presidential election. This is supposed to be a modern civilization after all. We have the technology, why are we behaving like a 3rd world country?

    October 28, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  16. Qwinn

    "If it does turn out that these voters were not citizens, then their votes can be voided after the election. "

    Right. Okay. Let me get this straight. Let's say that illegal immigrants make up the deciding vote, and it flips Georgia blue. Let's even pretend that it'll actually decide the election – in other words, let's envision that it will -matter-.

    Are you -seriously- going to tell me that, even if they were handed 100% absolutely positively incontrovertible proof that the deciding number of votes was made by illegal immigrants with no right to vote, that you'd all say, well, okay, and accept their votes being tossed out?

    How absolutely stupid do you think we are? Are you kidding? You've all shown your colors in blazing technicolor. A vote could be from a national socialist tranvestite Kenyan citizen, but if it was a vote for Obama, you'd scream (just as you all are in this thread) that it was a "dirty trick" and "voter suppression" to do anything about his vote.


    October 28, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  17. tyrell

    I'm from Atlanta and the talk is that Ga might turn blue. That has to worry the Rethugs.

    October 28, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  18. TorchBearer

    Now if those responsible for voter suppression were prosecuted, then maybe some of these illegal activities would stop. This is getting out of control is turning America into a third rate country.

    October 28, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  19. McWho

    There are soo many Republican Operatives in authority positions pertaining to voter registration & Voting.
    Its obvious they have been given their orders and are attempting to be good stolegers.

    Just like special forces carrying out a mission, The Republican Election Fix is on again 🙁
    But they wanna cry about how ACORN is undermining the fabric of Democracy. Hahahaa HA HA.. Ecertything that they complain about, they have done or are doing themselves.. Its their way of taking attention off their own misdeeds & lies .

    October 28, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  20. mms

    Well i'm glad the courts are working hard to protect our votes because the republican party sure isn't.And this is the party with the slogan country first , what a joke.Nov.4 we will show them how much we love this country when we take it back and that means every intelligent dem,rep.,ind. ect. We have all had enough!

    October 28, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  21. Reagan

    I'm stunned.

    I thought voting was a right for legal citizens of this country. I wonder if I go to France they'll let me vote?

    Regardless of who you are going to vote for...Isn't allowing questionable registrations to be valid sort of illegal?????

    October 28, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  22. Wormy

    I tell ya, every battleground state is going to have these types of problems. Repulicans can't stand to LOOSE. They will cheat, lie, or steal to stay in office!

    The state of Alaska needs serious reforming; they got some big time crooks up there.

    GOP=Grand Ole Phoneys!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2008

    October 28, 2008 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  23. John

    We are currently in the process of making Georgia a blue state and the GOP doesn't like it. Its good to know that the republicans can't steal georgia.

    October 28, 2008 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  24. Carolyn from GA

    This is wonderful! We finally have a Democrat that is prepared to fight back. Obama is a new kind of Democrat and the republicans just don't know how to respond but with the same tactics that don't appear to be working. Voter suppresion–not this time! This is the reason for voting early. This gives Obama a chance to send the lawyers out to fight for the average American before election night. When this happens on election night, we get recounts and delays. Refuse to be intimidated! Obama/Biden 08

    October 28, 2008 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  25. Dace Tucson

    This is going on in all or most of the toss-up states where republican state attorney generals are systematically trying to remove mainly democrats and especially minority voters – I am very happy there is at least one story here. It would be great if we could see an investigative report on this actual voter suppression – verses the continued hysteria over ACORN where none of the bad registrations would even lead to one fraudulent vote yet Lou Dobbs shrieks daily about ACORN, ACORN.... the sky is falling!

    October 28, 2008 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
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