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Georgia Audit Finds 1,634 Non-Citizens Tried to Register to Vote

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Georgia’s State Secretary Brad Raffensperger announced on Monday that a state-wide audit found that 1,634 non-citizens tried to register to vote in Georgia. The state was referring the cases to local authorities for further investigations and potential prosecutions. The Georgia audit was announced a few weeks ago and comes at a time of deep political divides in the Peach state over the state’s voting laws and election regulations.

None of the 1634 non-citizens were able to cast a vote in the elections

Raffensperger made clear that none of these non-citizens actually voted in the last elections due to the existing laws and procedures in Georgia that check citizenship requirements. According to the GA State Department, these non-citizens would not be allowed to vote if they showed up to a poll on election day.

The Secretary of State also said that he “will continue to secure Georgia’s elections from non-citizens attempting to register to vote and cast ballots in the Peach State.” In reference to the Democratic push for non-citizenship requirement, Raffensperger said: “while Stacey Abrams and her allies are suing to eliminate citizenship checks despite overwhelming support for citizens-only voting, I will never stop fighting to uphold the integrity of Georgia’s elections.”

1634 non-citizens-registering-to-vote
The Secretary of State said that none of the potential non-citizens were able to cast a vote in the elections (EFE)

Local authorities have also expressed support for Raffensperger’s efforts. Chris Arnt, District Attorney of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit, said that “I look forward to working with Secretary Raffensperger and the Office of the Secretary of State to investigate these potential cases of noncitizens who attempted to register to vote. Protecting the integrity of Georgia’s elections is fundamentally important.”

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According to the office of the Secretary of State, the audit found that attempts of non-citizens to register were found in 88 counties across the state, and that the substantial majority (80.7%) of such cases occurred after 2016, and that 69% of the cases occurred in five counties: Clayton, Cobb, Gwinnett, Fulton, and DeKalb.

Georgia’s electoral laws have been at the center of bitter political discussions

The statewide citizenship audit conducted by Raffensperger’s office was the first one in the state’s history and comes just a few months after Georgia’s senate voted down a constitutional amendment that would ban non-citizens from voting in the state. The amendment failed to pass due to unified Democratic opposition, who argued that while they agree that only citizens can vote in Georgia elections, they thought the amendment proposed was only “political theater.”

The move also comes after years of controversy in Georgia over its election laws and processes. In 2018, Stacey Abrams refused to concede the election after she lost the gubernatorial election to Brian Kemp, claiming, without evidence, the elections were characterized by voter suppression that benefitted his opponent.

Abrams’ activist group Fair Fight filed a lawsuit against the State of Georgia over the 2018 election, a case that is still being discussed in courts. Most recently, Democrats around the country denounced the 2021 Georgia Voting law as “voter suppression” or “Jim Crow 2.0” as they argued the legislation was purposefully targeting ethnic minorities to prevent them to vote.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has been under fire by both Democrats and Republicans (EFE)

Georgia’s electoral laws have not only been challenged by the Democratic Party, but Republicans have also had a fierce civil war due to the results of the 2020 presidential election. Former President Donald Trump has accused Gov. Brian Kemp and Raffensperger of allowing Democrats to commit voter fraud. Both Kemp and Raffensperger are facing primary challenges in the GOP from Trump-endorsed opponents that have attacked both officials for their actions in the aftermath of the 2020 election.  

As both parties gear themselves for a tight and crucial senate and gubernatorial races later this year, the issue of voting laws in Georgia will surely remain one of the most divisive and polarizing topic in the politics of the Peach State.

Daniel is a Political Science and Economics student from the University of South Florida. He worked as a congressional intern to Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) from January to May 2020. He also is the head of international analysis at Politiks // Daniel es un estudiante de Cs Políticas y Economía en la Universidad del Sur de la Florida. Trabajo como pasante legislativo para el Representate Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) desde enero hasta mayo del 2020. Daniel también es el jefe de análisis internacional de Politiks.

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