A 2019 purge of the state’s voter registrations removed thousands of voters from the official rolls in Glynn and Camden counties and several hundred from the rolls in McIntosh County.
In Glynn County, 3,231 registrations, or roughly 5 percent of the county’s total, were deleted, leaving the number of registered voters at 62,346.
According to the Glynn County Board of Elections, registration is generally marked inactive because the voter moved out of state, a mailed notification was returned as undeliverable or the recipient failed to make contact with elections officials for five years.
A 2019 update to the state’s voting law extended the time voters have to make contact with the board before being designated inactive from three years to five.
Contact can be in the form of voting in an election or a primary, signing a petition, updating voter registration or renewing or changing a driver’s license, according to the office of Georgia Secretary.
Of those subtracted from the list in Glynn County, 1,055 had mail returned as undeliverable, 1,500 made no contact with elections officials and 676 moved out of the state.
Chris Channell, supervisor of elections and registration in Glynn County, said there’s a reason mail is returned as undeliverable.
“The majority of these voters are people that moved out of state and haven’t registered in another state or haven’t notified us that they’ve moved,” Channell said.
It’s a common issue, he said, and one several states are looking to address with an information-sharing program. Not many states have signed on, however.
City of Brunswick residents accounted for the lion’s share of cancelations in Glynn County at 2,369. Of the others removed, 818 were from St. Simons Island, 33 from Jekyll Island and nine from Sea Island. Two voters — one in Waynesville and the other in Hortense — resided in Brantley County.
In McIntosh County, 312 of the county’s 9,680 registrations were removed from the official rolls, or about 3 percent.
According to the state documents, 122 were canceled due to returned mail, 87 for no contact and 103 because of an address change.
“Most of ours haven’t voted since 2012, and then there were some others that moved out of state,” said Eleanor Gale, elections and registration supervisor in McIntosh County. “Some died.
“Each one is a different reason. Some of them could have been felons (who) went through the justice process and didn’t get their rights restored. We have to verify that with the court system.”
According to documents from the office of Georgia Secretary of State, 34,499 Camden residents were registered to vote as of Feb. 1.
With 2,635 Camden voters removed from the rolls last year, the county saw a 7 percent reduction in total registrations.
Of those, 1,473 were the result of returned mail, 635 for no contact and 527 for change of address.
Glynn elections supervisor Channell encourages residents with questions about their registration to check their status online at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov or by calling the Glynn County Board of Elections at 554-7060. The McIntosh County elections office can be reached at 437-6605 and the Camden office’s number is 576-3245.
The next election is the presidential preference primary March 24. Registration deadline for voting in the primary is Feb. 24.
Last year, more than 286,000 voter registrations, or about 4 percent of the statewide total, were canceled following a court battle with voting rights groups attempting to stop the purge.
Statewide, 107,465 registrations were taken off the rolls due to a change of address, 95,808 for having no contact with elections officials and another 83,517 due to election mail returned undeliverable.