When you can challenge the right to vote of someone that you don’t know and have never met. And, can do it for thousands of people at a time.
That is VOTER
Close to 100,000 Voter Registrations Were Challenged in Georgia — Almost All by Just Six Right-Wing Activists
by Doug Bock Clark, photography by Cheney Orr for ProPublica
July 13, 7 a.m. EDT
The recent transformation of the state’s election laws explicitly enabled citizens to file unlimited challenges to other voters’ registrations. Experts warn that election officials’ handling of some of those challenges may clash with federal law.
The March 2022 voter challenges were the first of many from Schneider: As the year progressed, he submitted seven more batches of challenges, each one larger than the one previous, growing from 507 voters in April to nearly 15,800 in October, for a total of over 31,500 challenges.
Vetting Georgia’s voter rolls was once largely the domain of nonpartisan elections officials. But after the 2020 election, a change in the law enabled Schneider and other activists to take on a greater role. Senate Bill 202, which the state’s Republican-controlled legislature passed in 2021, transformed election laws in response to “many electors concerned about allegations of rampant voter fraud,” as the bill stated. Many states allow challenges, but officials in Georgia and experts say that in the past challengers have typically had relevant personal knowledge, such as someone submitting a challenge to remove a dead relative from the rolls. Georgia, however, is unusual in explicitly allowing citizens unlimited challenges against anyone in their county.
At first, voting rights groups were vocal about other aspects of SB 202, such as restrictions on absentee ballots, paying less attention to the 98-page bill’s handful of sentence-length tweaks that addressed voter challenges. The change to the challenges rule was “the sleeper element of SB 202,” said Rahul Garabadu, a senior voting rights attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia.
Media outlets have reported on the high number of challenges and numerous cases of voters feeling harassed, impeded or intimidated by being placed into “challenged” status. But the outsized role of the small group of people making the challenges was less clear. ProPublica was able to determine that a vast majority of the challenges since SB 202 became law — about 89,000 of 100,000 — were submitted by just six right-wing activists, including Schneider. Another 12 people accounted for most of the rest. (ProPublica obtained data for all challenges logged in 30 of the state’s 159 counties, including the 20 most populous.) Of those challenges, roughly 11,100 were successful — at least 2,350 voters were removed from the rolls and at least 8,700 were placed in a “challenged” or equivalent status, which can force people to vote with a provisional ballot that election officials later adjudicate.
Challenges from right-wing activists have proliferated in Georgia despite strict federal laws governing how voters can be removed from rolls. That’s in part because state and local election officials have struggled to figure out how to reconcile SB 202 with federal protections. This has resulted in counties handling challenges inconsistently, sometimes in ways that experts warn may have violated federal law, something they say may have been the case with Schneider’s March challenges.
In the run-up to the 2022 election, voting rights advocates warned that some challenges might create insurmountable barriers to people casting a ballot, such as by removing them from the rolls. But there were no published accounts of Georgians who ultimately did not cast a ballot as a result of being challenged. Schneider’s March challenges did lead to this kind of harm in at least one instance: An unhoused voter found his removal from the rolls too high a barrier to allow him to re-register in time to vote.
Challenging the right to vote of someone you have never met is absolute garbage. It’s voter suppression. Plain and simple. The GOP can’t win if they don’t cheat.
I hope people understand what’s going on with the GOP in Georgia. They are doing nothing but cheating. The challenges, the voter purges, the challenges to actual voter registrations…..all nothing but VOTER SUPPRESSION. Which is, of course, why the GOP just proposed taking the voter challenge suppression – NATIONWIDE – in a new bill.
Republicans have a plan for 2024. To win majority power with only the support of a minority of the electorate they are making it harder to vote and easier to cheat.
Please read and share my latest.https://t.co/20IHR55XGp
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) July 18, 2023
NEW: Republicans’ election plans include enacting new voter suppression measures and undermining the accurate counting and certification of ballots. In other words, they want to make it harder to vote and easier to cheat, @marceelias writes. https://t.co/tqsEQEHwOt
— Democracy Docket (@DemocracyDocket) July 18, 2023
The conservative-majority #ncga aims to restrict rights in high-stakes elections through bills like S747 & S749. These bills introduce unnecessary hurdles, complicate registration, limit early voting & absentee ballots, and undermine electoral integrity. https://t.co/i5uYWGaNNE
— NC Council of Churches (@ncchurches) July 18, 2023