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Georgia Secretary of State wants to create legislation that clarifies only 'American citizens' can vote in state elections

The Georgia code makes clear that only U.S. Citizens are allowed, but some major cities are finding that to be unclear and up for debate.

ATLANTA — Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger held a news conference Wednesday morning at the State Capitol to clarify that only 'American citizens' can vote in Georgia elections.

Raffensberger specified that he is calling on the General Assembly to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot next year to "clarify that our state constitution will only allow American citizens to vote" in Georgia elections. 

The Georgia code makes clear that only U.S. Citizens are allowed, but some major cities are finding that to be unclear and up for debate.

Raffensberger referred to those trends as "disturbing." 

"There's one thing that should be noncontroversial and that is that only American citizens should be voting in our election," he said.

He said the law actually has a loophole that someone could potentially fight. 

This comes as Georgia election officials began mailing notifications last week to more than 185,000 registered voters, starting a process that could ultimately result in them being removed from the voter rolls if they don’t take action.

The notices are being sent to people who haven’t participated in an election or had another contact with the state’s election system for the past five years, according to a news release from Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office. 

If the 185,666 people targeted by the notifications do not respond within 30 days, they will be classified as “inactive.” They will still be able to vote as usual while on the inactive list, and casting a ballot should move them back to the active voter list.

Earlier this month, 11Alive also described the additional identification needed on Georgia's new absentee ballots.

RELATED: Georgia's new absentee ballot request forms require more identification, warns of potential fines and imprisonment

Georgia's new absentee ballot request forms now require more identification. 

Raffensperger’s office created the new forms, which requires people requesting an absentee ballot to write down a Georgia driver’s license number or state identification card number. 

The previous ballot request form required voters to provide a signature match to verify identification.

The new form also adds a warning that voters may face fines up to $100,000 or up to 10 years of imprisonment if they are not eligible to vote or provide false information.

The change is mandated by the state's new controversial election reform bill Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law in March.

The bill was developed on the heels of the 2020 presidential election and Senate runoff election in which Republicans claimed there was widespread voter fraud — though no evidence of this was found — after the historically "red" Peach State saw wins for the Democratic Party. 

   The Associated Press contributed to this report.