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. Suppressed Bigot

    Fraudalent Voter Registration = Fraudalent Vote. Why? Because the "klerk" at the election booth is in on the fraud. So, when Jimmy Hendricks shows up to vote, she will let him. We will destroy the Frauds. WHITE POWER! 14, 88


    October 27, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  2. Obama/Biden 08

    Good for them. It is absurd that these people would have been denied their right to vote.

    October 27, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  3. lkinopfl

    I am so glad that the courts ruled in favor of upholding every American citizen's right to vote. It's good to know that these people would not be disenfranchised and forbidden their right to let their voice be heard and vote. This is the American way! We take care of our citizens not suppress their voices!!

    October 27, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  4. trish

    Perdue travels the world (spain) when GA had no gas and i travel from kennesaw to catersville in search of fuel to go to work in Marietta. Chamblis is old politics.

    Thank God for the Voter Justice.

    October 27, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  5. Lori

    Republicans trying to suppress votes? Why doesn't Sarah Palin talk about this? Isn't she concerned about democracy?

    Could someone please tell Palin and McCain that 'spreading the wealth around' is what has been going on in America for hundreds of years. Why do they think we all pay taxes? Come on America. Does McCain think that the American people will fall for this?

    October 27, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  6. jay

    m.c. , who are you to say who loves america most? Voting, and encouraging all americans to do so would seem like a great sign of affection for ones own democracy. Your "liberals hate america" argument is garbage, and it's time to take out the trash!

    October 27, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  7. Shame Shame I Know your name GOP

    If I were a Repub I would be so ashamed of myself. You would think those conservative Christians would ask themselves what would Jesus do? What happend to the "morality" of this party, they will do anything to win. Now McCain/Palin are fighting about who's the biggest diva? What does the bible say about a house (or party) divided? Oh yeah it cannot stand. A double minded man (McCain) is unstable in all his ways. Yeah some of us Dems know the bible also, I would suggest you conservative Christians start boneing up on your bible you have alot to answer for.

    October 27, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  8. Yes!!!!

    Yes!!! Now Georgia go and turn that red state blue! No weapon formed against this election will prosper. Thank God for the College student that stood up and demanded the right that many people died for. Georgia will do the right thing. This election will not be stolen from the American people.

    October 27, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  9. NinaORLANDO

    Vote early for OBAMA! Lets fight against GOP dirty tricks!

    October 27, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  10. Meka

    And we March across the Globe Preaching Democracy!

    October 27, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  11. David from Nj

    I guess tomorrows conservative radio headlines will be:
    Liberal activist Judges give thousands of non U.S. citizens right to vote.

    October 27, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  12. Georgia Girl

    I am a georgia voter an I waited in line from 10:25am to 6pm to vote today. It was a very diverse group in the huge line. I'm black but the people who where around me were white, we never spoke about who we were voting for or anything political. One person I discovered worked with my father years ago, an older couple told me that their son an I attend the same church, and the woman next to me was a patient at my practice recently. My point is regardless of who we voted for, we all stood as proud Americans. Regardless of race, gender,age, or party we appreciated each others company and love for this great country.
    Obama 08

    October 27, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  13. Drew Chung in Gainesville

    Well, when are we going to address what's going on in Wisconsin and Colorado??? In Wisconsin, an Attorney General and Republican state honorary co chairman of McCain's election campaign, is filing another lawsuit against the State Election Committee because he believes that people are voting illegally but this has not been substantiated. This seems a bit fishy seeing that he had GOP lawyers in his office recently and when asked if they asked him to file the lawsuit, he said "No, but they may have told some of my lawyers to." Isn't that the same thing as saying yes?!? Colorado's Secretary of State, Michael Coffman purged 30,000 voters illegally from voter rolls. Coffman's office believes that he hasn't done anything wrong and believes that it was "only" 14,000 voters that we purged. Does this make his wrong-doing any better??? Why is it that Republicans seem to be the only politicians behind this voter suppression in key battleground states?!? Luckily courts are allowing formerly purged voters in Georgia to vote. They were also told by their Republican Secretary of State that they weren't allowed to vote for various bogus reasons such as they weren't US citizens.

    October 27, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  14. NC for Obama

    Thank goodness reason and justice prevail – too bad for the Republicans who are desperately trying to subvert our democracy and the right of every person to vote. They will stoop to anything.

    Let's not let the Republicans steal another election – get out and vote early if you can and volunteer to help others get to the polls. Report any voter abuse to the media, the Election Board and anyone who will listen. If the voting process is kept honest – we all know Obama will win...however keep working to get the vote out!

    October 27, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  15. Mel in GA

    Great Info!!!! Great verdict!!!! I hope this hits the radio and local GA news stations non-stop this week!!!!

    October 27, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  16. Peter of Oregon

    No more hanging chads. No more voter suppression.

    October 27, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  17. Ray Fisher

    It is well past time for a national identification card to stop the questions of voting and doing business in America. This is not an issue of discrimination but of preserving and protecting American processes from fraud and abuse. A national ID to be shown whenever anyone conducts business will stop the confusion and restore integrity to our nation.

    October 27, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  18. xavier

    This isnt 2000! No way are we letting the GOP steal one again. We saw what happened last time that happened.

    October 27, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  19. McCainTheWeasel

    I hope Bob Barr takes about 7 percent of the vote, and Obama beats McWeasel in Georgia. All we need is for Metro ATL to go heavily OBAMA, and the southern portion to split and IT'S A DONE DEAL.

    October 27, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  20. Dixie

    Good! It's time for state contenuity for voting laws. As president, Obama will need to put this on his "to do" list. Repub Sec of state in Colorado stinks to high heaven. Disqualifying voters and running for election at the same time. Conflict of interest - do you think?

    October 27, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  21. OH Democrat

    First Ted Stevens is convicted, guaranteeing a Begich win, and now this ruling...if I weren't in recovery I would open a bottle of champagne right now.

    October 27, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  22. AM in VA



    October 27, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  23. Mrs. Daniel

    This is a great day for Democracy!

    October 27, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  24. Sandra, Atlanta, GA

    What did Karen Handel say??? She is pleased that the district court supported her process? So that would be why they ruled that these people be allowed to vote? (O.K.....so she's not the brightest star in the universe!)

    October 27, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  25. African Oil workers for Obama

    Good ridence to Bad Nonsense!

    October 27, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
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