Presidential Candidates Send Calls, Texts To Potential Purged Georgia Voters
Four presidential candidates joined Stacey Abrams Thursday to help reach out to some of the 313,000 registered Georgia voters who may be removed from the voter rolls ahead of the 2020 election.
At a phone bank set up by Abrams’ Fair Fight Action group in a room at Ebenezer Baptist Church, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg churned through voter contacts, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker tapped a rhythm along with the names of his voters and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar joked about beating her fellow candidates’ score of total voters reached.
The three snapped a selfie together before jumping back to the task at hand. Entrepreneur and candidate Andrew Yang also stopped in later in the morning.
The “purge” list of voters includes the names of people who have not had contact with elections officials for years – since before 2012 in some cases – and who have either died, moved out of Georgia or have not voted in several election cycles.
The secretary of state’s office said it made the list public in order to “crowdsource” the list and to ensure no voter who still wants to be on the rolls would be removed.
In several cases, the people candidates contacted were not active Georgia voters anymore.
“I got someone who moved to Kentucky,” Klobuchar exclaimed.
“Hope he voted in that election,” Booker quipped back, before sending a response text back to another voter who moved out of state.
Voter list maintenance is required by federal and state law, but Georgia’s law has been controversial because of the so-called “use it or lose it” provision that allows removing voters from rolls simply because they haven’t voted in a long time, and not just for things like not keeping their address current with their local board of elections.
Fair Fight and other voting rights groups are racing against the clock to see if there are people who have stayed away from the polls long enough to be at risk of being booted from the rolls but who may also want to vote in 2020.
Having a number of the presidential candidates show up to her event is also another high-profile win for Abrams, the former gubernatorial nominee who has made her post-election platform about increasing access to the ballot and working for historically undercounted groups to be reported accurately in the 2020 census.
Though she argued before the debate that voter suppression should be a topic of discussion at the debates, it largely wasn’t. Her organization is working with partners in 20 states to help build voter protection teams that monitor elections before the November contest.