Stonewalling in Georgia: As Election Day Nears, Judge Refuses to Force Secretary of State to Process 40,000 Missing Voter Registrations

Friday, October 31, 2014
Judge Christopher Brasher (photo: Fulton County Superior Court)

Democrats and civil rights advocates may have lost their last attempt before Election Day next week to force Georgia’s Secretary of State to process tens of thousands of voter registrations.


Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp has not processed registrations for at least 40,000 new voters who were signed up under a program by the New Georgia Project, which focused on registering minorities, those with low incomes and others who tend to support Democratic politicians.


Officials with the New Georgia Project sued Kemp’s office, demanding it process the forms so the new voters could participate in the November election. But that lawsuit hit a wall in the form of Fulton County Superior Court Judge Christopher Brasher, who denied the plaintiffs’ petition to force Kemp to act.


Calling the lawsuit “premature,” Brasher said the petition was based on “merely set out suspicions and fears that the [state officials] will fail to carry out their mandatory duties.”

Those involved with the New Georgia Project were outraged by the ruling.


“All in all – a Republican appointed judge has backed the Republican Secretary of State  to deny the right to vote to a largely African American and Latino population,” Dr. Francys Johnson, president of the Georgia NAACP, a party to the lawsuit, said in a press release.


Civil rights lawyer Marsha Burrofsky told ThinkProgress: “It just hadn’t occurred to me that this would be a tactic that the Secretary of State could use. I was very naive, I guess. I feel absolutely sick that this election is being stolen.”


Polling has shown the races for Governor and U.S. Senate in Georgia, usually easy wins for Republicans, have been unexpectedly tight, so any missing votes could make the difference. Also on next week’s ballot: Kemp, who’s hoping for another term as Secretary of State and might prefer there were fewer Democratic-leaning voters.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Court Refuses To Intervene In Case of 40,000 Missing Voters In Georgia (by Alice Ollstein, ThinkProgress)

A Fulton County Judge’s Ruling: ‘No Proof’ of Lost Registered Voters (by Jim Galloway, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Fights to Delay Registration of Tens of Thousands of New Democratic Voters (by Steve Straehley and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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