Nearly 95 percent of Georgia’s eligible voters are registered to vote, according to federal data released this week.
The data, compiled by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), shows a voter registration rate increase of 7.5 percent over 2018 and 18.7 percent over 2016. The EAC’s report estimates nearly 7.5 million Georgians are eligible to vote and that nearly 7.2 million of them are actively registered as of the 2020 election.
The report comes after Georgia took the national spotlight in the months following the 2020 election. The contentious battleground state flipped blue in the 2020 presidential race by a razor-thin margin of about 12,000 votes, and then two Democrats were narrowly elected to the U.S. Senate in Georgia in a stunning pair of runoff races in January.
Those results — in conjunction with the state loosening its voting laws last year in response to coronavirus — prompted widespread concerns in the Peach State that alleged voter fraud or reckless election administration had impacted the election.
Gov. Brian Kemp (R) was the first governor to address election integrity concerns — which were swirling in multiple battleground states at the time — by signing an overhaul bill in March aimed, he said, at making it “easy to vote and hard to cheat.”
The bill, named the Election Integrity Act of 2021, was met with a barrage of attacks from Democrats and big-name corporations in the state — like Major League Baseball and Coca-Cola — who broadly accused Kemp of instituting voting laws that perpetuated perceived voter suppression. The bill, among its many provisions, tightened the process of voting by absentee ballot and called for redistribution of ballot boxes based on voter registration data.
Georgia’s 95 percent figure in the EAC’s report, though calculated before the bill’s signing, is one of the highest registration rates in the country.
Democrat activist Stacey Abrams, perhaps the most prominent claimant of voter suppression since her narrow loss to Kemp in 2018, shared the new statistic by retweeting her former campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo, who celebrated the number:
This is evidence of the work of so many organizers, canvassers, leaders, thinkers, organizations across the state and certainly my friend @nseufot and the team at @NewGAProject!
But the even better news is– no one is letting their foot off the gas. https://t.co/6SKAVj3eAj
— Lauren Groh-Wargo (@gwlauren) August 19, 2021
Abrams, despite the substantial voter registration rate growth, has repeatedly charged that voter suppression exists in Georgia and founded the voting rights group Fair Fight Action in 2018 after her gubernatorial loss in response to her concerns about the issue. Groh-Wargo serves as the CEO of Fair Fight.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution observed that automatic registration at driver’s license offices contributed greatly to the increase, as that registration method produced about 67 percent of the new voters.
The actual rate, for states across the board, could be lower as the report calculated the total “citizen voting-age population” based off of 2019 survey data, which was the most recent data available for that portion of the calculation.
Write to Ashley Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.