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. KP

    I use to be independent and swayed to the left for the most part but all this obama biased in the media has turned me to be Republican. I have the democrats to thank for that. As far as letting others vote I say good so be it. Let's hope those voters seriously delve into both canidates despite what either say. I also hope that no one votes because they are simply angry at any past administration from either parties and make a sound decision.

    October 27, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  2. DOCS 3

    Once a upon a time in our history this could be directly proportional to that false wisdom of "POLE TAX". Behind that wisdom was racism. At least we again found equality at the federal level. The question still lingers - "WHY ARE THOSE THAT BELIEVE IN INEQUALITY THINK WE SHOULD TRUST THEM WITH OUR GOVERNMENT". For so long these closet people stayed in the closet. It seems when the very foundation of that wisdom has to be shaken before they show their real "mentality". These people only represent "oppression". That is what the "pole tax" represented. To try to apply "suppression" to "oppression" doesn't give the true seriousness and danger of what these "closet racists" were trying to do. To call them something else is to validate their actions. As MLK would say about one injustice is sure food for thought for the rest of us on "election day". Just think about the "ripple effect" if the panel went the other way. Ohio was the first stab by these closet people.Ga, was the second stab. The final act to their deceit will be on election day.

    October 27, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  3. Ellen

    There is nothing more fundamentally American than the right to vote. Kudos to the judges!

    October 27, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  4. Pat Canada

    There is justice in America after all. For a while there I thought elections in America could be likened to elections in places like Zimbabwe. Whew!

    October 27, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  5. jm from sc

    m.c. why would you take the time and type such a lie and post it under this article. You must have never heard Obama speak. Obama always say Thank you and God bless America.

    October 27, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  6. Sammy

    Considering millions of people think the supreme court handed Bush the election in 2000... and still do.... I suspect the courts do not want to be thought of as handing another one to a republican.

    October 27, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  7. John

    Another example of republican voter fraud and if the republicans get a chance to pack the federal courts like they did the Justice department, we are all in trouble.

    October 27, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  8. red33,cedar rapids, ia

    People voting for Obama must either be on welfare, or be very, very ignorant of the man's history, and his record in congress. Cannot believe our country has come to this .......letting a socialist get in. Very, very sad.

    October 27, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  9. Good versus evil

    All legitimate votes should be counted.

    October 27, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  10. Richard A. Spomer

    Finding of Judges uncostitutional, because, this helps so many people create the oppertunity too which they can vote in two diferent precincts. Is this a Demecratic finding or what???

    October 27, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  11. chuckles

    McCain and Palin are a sad display of Candidates. Stealing votes for them should is just as sad as the Mavericks.....chuckle chuckle

    October 27, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  12. CNN fan

    Voter fraud will decide this election, I fear. Either side will steal the election, another legacy that McCain’s friend W left us.

    October 27, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  13. Michael

    Leave it to the R party...which has been highjacked by right-wing extremists...to keep alive the grand old tradition of denying citizens their say at the polls. First it was women and blacks.....and now it's just anyone who may deny them power. The Republican party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Eisenhower is dead.......and until it goes back to these roots, it will only serve as a voice of hatred and division in America.....which falls right into the hands or our enemies.

    October 27, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  14. Chuck G.

    I think Democratic Liberals have to have illegal immigrinants, the homeless and every other down and out group to vote, in order to WIN...! What whiners...


    October 27, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  15. Brad


    Mccain is a pandering machine. He says whatever the crowd wants to hear. In Florida? "how bout them rays?" In PA? "how bout those phillies?" In the bible belt? "we'll overturn roe v wade"

    He's a consulate politician - he says ANYTHING to try to get votes. He goes so far as to badmouth certain parts of the country in an effort to be divisive.

    Thanks but no thanks, john.

    October 27, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  16. S. Boatman

    Not This Year Republicans! Not This Year!

    October 27, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  17. Marcus

    The chief legal council for the Obama campaign, has asked the special prosecutor, ( investigating the bush administrations attempt to make federal courts a partisan political organ of the republican party), to investigate other republican attempts at voter supression also.

    Obama/ Biden 08

    October 27, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  18. barbara

    On many fronts, the Republicans sure are busy trying to keep people from voting.

    October 27, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  19. Steve



    October 27, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  20. Let's all vote.

    Who cares if you are a citizen or not, vote vote vote and then vote again. We are the world, we are the people...

    Americans for global change and America giving up her Sovereignty.

    October 27, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  21. JT Dale

    I am so glad that Georgia citizens are getting their rights back after this "typo" by the computer. Now the same thing needs to happen in all the other states that are reporting this. That is why we need to GET OUT THE VOTE so this wonderful country can be wonderful again as it was back when President Clinton was in office. VOTE VOTE VOTE. It is your right. Use it. Obama08.

    October 27, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  22. NoTrustInPolitics


    October 27, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  23. tom jefferson

    Thank goodness!

    October 27, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  24. Sue in MI

    I have a question about college students voting. If they vote in their college town, what is to stop them from voting absentee in their hometowns? My nephews in PA will vote absentee for Ohio, their official residence, but they rent a house in PA, so what would stop them from voting there too?

    October 27, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  25. Kristen

    So happy to see this.

    October 27, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
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