Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archives
Photograph of President Lyndon Johnson Signs the Voting Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr., with Other Civil Rights Leaders in the Capitol Rotunda Watch, Washington, DC, 08/06/1965

Tuesday, Aug. 6th, marked the 54th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. At the time the Voting Rights Act was passed, many states had discriminatory voting laws which disproportionately affected African-Americans and other minorities. The VRA effectively repelled the practices of literacy testing and poll taxing among others. In 2013, however, the Supreme Court in Shelby v. Holder ruled that the basis by which states had to have changes to their election systems approved by the Justice Department or a federal court – a concept known as preclearance – was no longer relevant. The formula for deciding what changes must go through preclearance as prescribed by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was declared unconstitutional. 

States have used this decision to pass stricter photo ID requirements, close numerous polling locations, redraw voting districts/gerrymandering, and of particular importance in Georgia, the Supreme Court decision was used to uphold the purging of voters from state voter registration rolls. Some have claimed the changes are meant to curb voter fraud, an issue that is far from prevalent and had been diminishing even before such changes to voting laws had been enacted. 

If you are a Georgia resident you must regularly vote, or risk being purged from the state’s voter rolls. In 2017, more than 100,000 Georgians were purged from registration rolls for not voting. 

Recently, Governor Brian Kemp, the former Georgia Secretary of State who oversaw the passage of these stricter voter requirements, approved legislation that gives a buffer to voters. Georgia voters must now vote at least once every nine years instead of every seven in order to maintain their voter registration status. 

To confirm that your voter registration is still active please click here. 

If you are no longer registered or if you want to register for the first time you can do so here.