ATLANTA — Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel says the state’s request to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to pre-clear its voter verification process has been denied for a second time. That decision comes, even though the process in question is required by federal law under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), the secretary said.
“For the second time in six months, DOJ has effectively directed the State of Georgia not to comply with or enforce federal law. For nearly a year, our office and the Office of the Attorney General have worked in good faith with the Department of Justice to address their questions and issues,” Handel said in a news release. “Throughout this entire process, DOJ did not raise a single question, comment or concern with our reconsideration submission until Tuesday.”
Handel added, “The voter verification system is an essential tool to prevent election and voter fraud. Going forward, we will review all options available to us to protect this system and ensure the integrity of Georgia’s voter rolls. I will discuss these options with Governor Perdue, the Attorney General and the Secretary of State’s legal counsel to determine the best course of action for the State of Georgia and our elections process.”
The DOJ originally denied preclearance of Georgia’s voter verification process on May 29. On July 22, officials with the Secretary of State’s Office and the Attorney General’s office met with senior attorneys in the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division to address concerns, answer questions, and discuss the State’s pending reconsideration submission.
The request for reconsideration was submitted to DOJ several weeks later. Until Monday, there was no indication that there were additional questions, comments, concerns or objections to the State’s submission.