Georgia’s Secretary of State wants access to a federal database to verify the citizenship of potential voters. The Justice Department approved the state’s request a year ago, but the Department of Homeland Security has not granted access.
Homeland Security officials say they are aware of Georgia’s request and will handle it consistent with its usual process for such requests for access to the database.
Georgia wants to use the information to check citizenship before people register to vote.
Georgia is one of 11 states seeking to look at the database. The most controversial request is from Florida, which wants to use the information to purge its voter rolls of non-citizens.
UGA political science professor Charles Bullock says Georgia lawmakers are worried about non-citizens casting a ballot.
“We no longer allow aliens to vote. Historically many states did permit that, but Georgia hasn’t certainly in decades and decades.”
Elizabeth Poythress, President of the League of Women Voters of Georgia, says non-citizen voting is not a problem in Georgia.
“If the data substantiated it, it’d be different. But it doesn’t. It’s strictly a means of intimidating potential people to register to vote.”
The database tracks people who request immigration benefits. Legal immigrants are not allow to vote.