Georgia sued over voter verification procedure

[private]Several civil rights groups have filed a federal court lawsuit attempting to throw out the method used by Georgia’s election division to verify the identity of newly registered voters.

The lawsuit alleges that the procedure, known as “exact-match verification,” violates the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution’s First and Fourteenth Amendments.

The process requires all of the letters and numbers in an applicant’s name, date of birth, driver’s license number, or last four digits of the Social Security number to match exactly the letters and numbers in the Department of Drivers Service or Social Security Administration databases.

If any letter, number, hyphen, space, or apostrophe does not exactly match the database information and the applicant fails to correct the mismatch in 40 days, the application is automatically rejected.

“Georgia, like many states across the country, has erected another burdensome and unnecessary obstacle for those seeking to register and vote,” said attorney Kristen Clarke. “The Secretary of State’s exact-match program penalizes those seeking to register and vote because of errors contained in databases maintained by the state.”

“Many Asian Americans have traditional names which may be unfamiliar to election clerks responsible for entering their registration data into the statewide registration system,” said Stephanie Cho of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta. “They may omit a space between an applicant’s first name and middle name, or include a hyphen that the applicant does not use or even transpose a single letter or number.”

Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office said the verification procedure was okayed by the federal government six years ago.

“The verification process Georgia currently uses was pre-cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2010,” said Kemp spokesperson Candice Broce. “This lawsuit is an effort by liberal groups to disrupt voter registration just weeks before November’s important election.”

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on behalf of the Georgia NAACP, the Georgia Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Brian Kemp , civil rights groups , federal lawsuit , voter verification