Posted: October 27, 2008
Injunction Issues in Georgia Matching Case
A federal court in Georgia on the grounds of failure to obtain VRA preclearance has issued a preliminary injunction against a state database matching program that has flagged some registrants as ineligible to vote due to lack of citizenship. The injunction requires officials to permit these voters to cast a challenged ballot, and requires officials to notify them of what they must do to ensure the ballot counts (e.g., bring proof of citizenship to the county registration office). The injunction states that it goes into effect immediately and will remain in effect unless or until preclearance is obtained.
Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel has filed for pre-clearance and is awaiting response from the Department of Justice. In the meantime, flagged voters will be allowed to vote a challenged ballot. Challenged ballots are similar to provisional ballots but voters are given a hearing if the challenge to their ballot is initially successful. The challenged ballots will be set aside and counted in accordance with existing law. The Secretary is required to notify all counties of the existing procedure for counting challenged ballots in an attempt to ensure uniformity.