The November elections matter more now than ever. But if you’re a Georgia voter, there is a 1 in 10 chance that you were purged from the voting rolls sometime in 2017, a fact that many voters in the southern state are unaware of.
But don’t panic. Thanks to the diligent work of journalist Greg Palast and his new website, you can find out whether you’ve been affected by the purge and need to reregister to vote in next month’s election.
“I started this investigation for Al Jazeera and Rolling Stone in 2014," Palast told Salon regarding his investigative work on Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is responsible for the voter purge and is running for governor as a Republican this year. "And Kemp has been stonewalling my requests for his purge lists and the reasons for them. And I finally got the list — not all the material we've asked for, and I should say that we sent a 90 day notice of a federal lawsuit if he didn't provide these — and within hours of the deadline we got the list of the purged voters."
Kemp told Salon that Kemp had “identified people as having moved out of state, moved out of congressional district, they should either be removed or forced to re-register. In fact they haven't the state, they haven't left the congressional district. We found one woman who moved from one side of her building to the other.
"200,000 people have left the state, have died or have moved out of their congressional district that we're fairly certain of, or have been imprisoned and can't vote in Georgia. They're legitimate, they're definitely legitimate cancellations from the voter rolls, no question."
With his eyes firmly on the prize, it appears that Kemp is desperate to clean up his image. Just last month, he ended a bitter feud with Republican State Sen. Renee Unterman.
Earlier this year Kemp’s campaign called Unterman "unstable" and for her to "seek immediate medical attention before she hurts herself or someone else” after Unterman compelled prosecutors to investigate his campaign donations during his runoff against Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle.
Unterman released a statement at the time in response to the attack, saying: “He was referring to my divorce many years ago and the tragedy that occurred after it. My life is an open book w transparency written often times on the front page of a newspaper. Yes, I suffered from depression during my divorce and sought treatment. Who doesn't when you have such a major life transition like a divorce, especially when kids are involved? The circumstances of my divorce were tragic just as many people can relate to.”
Cagle backed Unterman by calling Kemp’s remarks a “sexist attack”
Kemp appears to have taken a murky route to secure his seat as governor, but he did not bank on Palast’s quick thinking.
The website is very easy to use. All voters need to do it head to the site and type in their first and last names. The results will pop up as well as the voter’s zip code. If you do discover that you have indeed been purged, you can contact the site who will release the full address so that you may have your vote restored.