Georgia’s biennial effort to clean up the state’s voter rolls got underway weeks ago, with address confirmation notices going out to hundreds of thousands of residents across metro Atlanta and the state.
The action in many ways is routine, while also an important part of the elections process. It ensures an accurate and current voter registration list, a central goal for every state in the nation and required under federal law.
But this year, the stakes somehow seem higher. The mailing of the notices unintentionally coincides with a request from the U.S. Justice Department to 44 states including Georgia asking how they remove voters from the rolls who should no longer be eligible to vote.
At the same time, a separate federal commission created by President Donald Trump to investigate unsubstantiated claims of “millions” of illegal votes cast in last year’s presidential election has also raised concerns over a query seeking personal information on voters themselves, such as their addresses, dates of birth, party affiliations and voting histories.
“Yes, there’s an amount of fear there,” said Rene Gordon, a 33-year-old Cobb County resident who recently received the notice in the mail and immediately froze, despite knowing she is a registered voter and had just voted in suburban Atlanta’s 6th Congressional District runoff. “That it’s all happening in the same time period is alarming.”