ATLANTA (AP) - A federal lawsuit claims Georgia's voter registration process violates the Voting Rights Act and has prevented tens of thousands of people from being able to register to vote - many of them minorities.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Gainesville says a state policy causes voter registration applications to be rejected if the submitted information doesn't exactly match that in databases maintained by the Georgia Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration.
The lawsuit says that for multiple reasons the records may not match, including data entry errors, typos or elections officials misreading applicants' handwriting. Hyphenated and maiden names or initials can also cause problems.
The office of Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the state's top elections official, sent this statement in an email to 11Alive: “The verification process Georgia currently uses was pre-cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2010. This lawsuit is an effort by liberal groups to disrupt voter registration just weeks before November’s important election.”
Photos | May 24 elections in Georgia
In order to be able to vote in the Nov. 8 Presidential election, voters must be registered by October 11. More important election dates, here.
How to register to vote
To register to vote on line, residents can go to the state of Georgia's voter registration website (click here) to fill out a five-step form and submit identifying information.
Voter registration forms can be picked up in person at any state or government office, including public libraries, schools. county board of registrar's officers or election offices. To locate those offices by county, click here.
Through the mail
Residents interested in registering to vote through the mail can download an application (click here) or pick one up from any state or government office, including public libraries, schools. county board of registrar's officers or election offices. To locate those offices by county, click here.
Fill out the form completely and follow directions on the form for where to mail it.
After registering, you will receive a voter registration card. If you do no receive the card within four weeks, contact your county registrar's office. To locate those offices by county, click here.
All voters must have an acceptable ID in order to vote.
Acceptable voter ID's in Georgia.
- Any valid state or federal government issued photo ID, including a free ID Card issued by your county registrar's office or the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS)
- A Georgia Driver's License, even if expired
- Valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state
- Valid U.S. passport ID
- Valid U.S. military photo ID
- Valid tribal photo ID
- Georgia Voter ID card. More on how to obtain that card, here.
Here are helpful links for Georgia Voter Registration Questions:
Election results: 11Alive.com/elections
Register to vote online: sos.ga.gov/elections
Change voter registration address: sos.ga.gov/elections
Check registration status: www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do
Election offices by county: http://sos.ga.gov/cgi-bin/countyregistrarsindex.asp
Information on voter eligibility and different ways to register: http://www.dmv.org/ga-georgia/voter-registration.php#Voter-Registration-Deadlines-in-GA