- Associated Press - Thursday, February 11, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) - The Georgia NAACP and Common Cause Georgia filed a lawsuit this week against Secretary of State Brian Kemp, arguing that his office has illegally eliminated people from the state’s registered voter list.

The federal lawsuit said Georgia’s process used to remove people from the registered voter list violates the National Voter Registration Act because it is kick-started when people don’t vote. The lawsuit says federal law prevents states from eliminating people because they haven’t cast a ballot.

A statement from Kemp’s office denied the accusations.

“The lawsuit is completely without merit and frivolous,” the statement said. “The Georgia Department of Law has clearly explained to plaintiff’s counsel multiple times that Georgia law is consistent with” federal law.

Kemp’s office also provided a December Department of Law letter describing the state’s process.

According to the letter, people who haven’t voted for three years or made other contact with state voting officials, for example by signing a candidate’s nominating petition, are sent a postcard asking for address confirmation.

If they do not respond within 30 days, their name is placed on an “inactive” voter list that still allows them to cast a ballot. If the person doesn’t vote or otherwise make contact for two more years, the name is removed from the state’s voter rolls, the letter said.

“When citizens register to vote, they fairly assume that unless they move, their registration will remain valid,” said Brinkley Serkedakis, executive director of Common Cause Georgia. “But following Georgia law, Secretary of State Brian Kemp is removing people from the rolls - without notice - if they miss a series of elections. The law and state policy put hundreds of thousands of Georgians in jeopardy of not having their voices heard in the upcoming election.”

According to the lawsuit, the state told federal officials that 372,242 voters were removed from the registered list between October 2012 and November 2014 - more than the number of new registered voters during that time frame. The suit asks a judge to restore any eliminated voters to the state’s registered list.

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