Conservative activists are challenging the eligibility of tens of thousands of voters under a law passed last year by the Republican-controlled state legislature.
In-person voting starts Oct. 17 in Georgia, where Democrat Stacey Abrams is challenging Gov. Brian Kemp in a rematch and Republican Herschel Walker is battling Sen. Raphael Warnock in a race that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate, and voting rights activists say conservatives are trying to purge the voter rolls, reported CNN.
“It’s a scary time for our democracy,” said Aklima Khondoker, New Georgia Project’s chief legal officer. “Anybody in your neighborhood, for whatever their reasons are, can challenge your voter eligibility.”
New Georgia Project says 64,000 voters have been challenged across the state -- which is far greater than the 21,000-vote margin President Joe Biden won over Donald Trump in 2020 -- and at least 1,800 voters have been removed from the rolls.
“There’s a growing segment of the country that seems to believe lies that they have been told about the 2020 election and that has them distrusting election officials,” said Sean Morales-Doyle, director of the voting rights program at the Brennan Center for Justice.
Khondoker's group fears the challengers are most likely to affect minority voters, who played a key role in making Biden the first Democrat to win the state in decades, and elections officials fear the challenges will overwhelm their staffers weeks before the votes are even cast.
“My biggest concern probably is burning out the staff sooner in the cycle,” said Zach Manifold, head of the elections office in Gwinnett County. “Then, it makes it harder and harder to run a quality election as we get closer to Election Day.”