Judge rules 3,000 new citizens caught up in GA pending registrations must be allowed to vote

Judge rules 3,000 new citizens caught up in GA pending registrations must be allowed to vote
Georgia's voter registration laws have held up more than 50,000 applications ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections. (WALB)

(RNN) – A federal judge has ruled that thousands of new U.S. citizen voters whose registrations have been on hold in Georgia must be allowed to vote on Tuesday.

The state’s “exact match” law – in which a person’s voter registration information must exactly match their vehicle registration and government ID information – has been cited by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp for keeping more than 50,000 registrants on hold.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Friday that at least 3,000 of those registrants must be allowed to vote if they show proof of citizenship when they go to vote.

Kemp is also the state’s Republican nominee for governor, running against Democrat Stacey Abrams, and has ignored calls to recuse himself from his current position, which oversees elections, over a conflict of interest.

The “exact match” law has been criticized for putting registrations on hold over discrepancies as minor as typos.

Friday’s injunction, issued by Judge Eleanor Ross of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, will allow voters who have recently been naturalized but weren’t updated as such in Georgia’s driver database to cast their vote without having to verify their status with the state’s Department of Driver Services.

“Allowing poll managers to verify proof of citizenship would alleviate the severe burden on individuals who have been flagged and placed in pending status for citizenship while still serving the state’s interest of ensuring that only United States citizens are voting,” Ross wrote.

The injunction does not resolve the pending applications of the other roughly 47,000 voters.

Critics have argued the mass hold is an attempt at voter suppression, with more than 70 percent of the registrations belonging to black voters.

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