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. Interested observer

    Barack Obama has credibility and charisma, charm and common sense. He is the kind of person the USA needs at this time, a fine example the rest of the world can relate to: a capable leader with clear ideas for the future. Colin Powell was right!
    By contrast, McCain and Palin fall far short of the standards a major democracy should be setting for the rest of the world. I am especially alarmed at the divisive tone of their campaign rallies. Hatemongering does not engender unity and hope, only fear and loathing. The only thing that could possibly save them is election fraud, voter suppression (which already looks to be happening in some places) and a few clever tricks by their equally sly friends in the White House (check out the war games being played out in Syria and Pakistan right now).
    Hopefully a majority of the US electorate will come to their senses this time!

    October 27, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  2. marianna

    It seems like it's a Texas primary style of voting to be happening in other states. Registering to vote by ACORN...

    Vote early.. and .. vote again, and again.

    October 27, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  3. Bridg

    Oh my gosh! It's apparent that the only way the GOP has been winning elections is through cheating. To qoute my favorite candidate, "this is the final verdict on the Republican philosophy. " They have been exposed for the crooked scums they are!

    October 27, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  4. waxwing069

    Change is already Happening!!! Obama/Biden all the way....

    October 27, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  5. Bill

    Does anyone in the United States use common sense these days?

    October 27, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  6. Lisa, Atlanta GA

    My fellow Georgians, remember this same Republican has plans to run for Governor! JUST SAY NOOOOOOOOOOOO!! She is about as far right-wing as Palin is and that is scary!!

    October 27, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  7. Justin

    One more victory for Democracy. The more people vote, the more we'll have the representative government our founders envisioned.

    October 27, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  8. Rogue Palin(drew griffin is biased)

    Isn't it funny how the conservatives kept laughing at the DEMS but now it's our turn to laugh at them because 2 people on the same ticket are fighting each other. Palin you will not be prepared now or in 2012, you can't fix stupid!


    October 27, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  9. Chris - Seattle

    Hey, check it out! Maybe this is all a ploy to see where Americans stand on issues and then using that info to group us into catagories!

    Consider for a moment that every word you say, type or text in any form of communication is visible and recordable by the government!!!

    You don't have to wait for Obama for that one, after recent events of the telecoms and government you can trust that the government is at the point of "all knowing"!

    My next point is more important!!!

    For all you folks on these blogs that

    October 27, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  10. Bill Charlotte,NC

    The Pubs new strategy.... disenfranchise anyone who is "not one of them."

    October 27, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  11. B. Churchill

    Not this time! Enough!

    October 27, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  12. Obama/Biden 08!

    Way to go Georgia! 50,000 more votes for Obama!!

    October 27, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  13. hurriCAIN PALIN

    can mickey mouse, abraham lincoln, barney the purple dinosaur, vote too!? they were registered, werent they?

    October 27, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  14. Independent white female patriotic voter

    Oh my GOd! Imagine if they didn't allow these people to vote!!!!!!
    I am glad they had some sense and made the right decision.

    October 27, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  15. Pat W

    Unbelievable! But we've seen it for years–the Republicans trying to disenfranchise anyone they don't agree with (the poor, the non-white, the liberal, oh yeah...the intelligent, too). I feel that this election cycle will show the world that most Americans want the bums out. And will vote to do so.

    October 27, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  16. Lynnette

    The Republicans have used every trick in the book. They will stop at nothing. I hope the whole bunch gets their just desserts come Nov. 4th!

    October 27, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  17. Mia

    McCain is looking more and more confused.

    October 27, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  18. TKI

    Unfortunate for McCain and the Republicans, that is.

    October 27, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  19. Victor from MI

    This is the ONLY way McCain and his GOP thugs can win, voting shenanigans. Its time the GOP reign ends.

    October 27, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  20. Raymond J

    What a way to run an election.
    If you poeple in charge as that stupid, then you should be in the cell next to Stevens before the election

    October 27, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  21. Block the vote 08 !!!

    we need a new direction and we need a new plan. I LOVE the UNITED, UNITED States of America, not the divided, or the rich or the hating states of america. All people need o come together as one and make a reasonable decision.There is only one intelligent choice this election cycle and it does NOT start with blocking votes, stomping on the poor, calling tax cuts for non rich people SOCIALISM! It time to vote for our own interests and not what the wealthy want us to vote through there cable news networks and talk radio or Fixed news network (fox).
    BLOCK THE VOTE..Republicans eat that!!!!

    Inexperienced, black guy terrorist, socialist, chicago politician, tree hugger, even Antichrist this from the extreme religious right)

    October 27, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  22. Larry

    What is the point of having all the laws that have safeguards in place for voter fraud when we don't enforce them ??? This is like when the Mafia got JFK elected in the 60's.

    October 27, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  23. WAW

    As a WASP Georgian, I am so pleased to see this. Not since Lester Maddox has Georgia be run by segregationist. The Georgia Republican Party began with the Julian Bond delegation being seated by the Democratic Convention instead of the segregation delegation. That delegation returned home to become Republicans. Interesting to note as well, that this article is titled "flagged" which is what the Republicans with the help of the Sons of Confederate Veterans did to former Governor Roy Barnes who removed the Confederate Flag from the state flag. Right does eventually win out. Now if only our religious folks would do something beside bowing their heads and closing their eyes.

    October 27, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  24. MichaelV

    We're all Georgians today.

    October 27, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  25. Joseph

    they better hope all those people who were about to be denied the vote by that republican harpy were democrats cause they definitely are now ;o)

    October 27, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
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