In Georgia, there are nearly 250,000 people with felony convictions who are currently ineligible to vote. Roughly 60% of them are Black. The Georgia Constitution prohibits anyone convicted of “a felony involving moral turpitude” from voting. In 2019, the lieutenant governor of Georgia convened a study committee (titled the Senate Study Committee for Revising the Voting Rights for Nonviolent Felony Offenders) to conduct a statewide listening tour on the issue of moral turpitude. The SPLC provided written testimony in support of narrowing the existing law and will continue to support efforts to re-enfranchise Georgia’s returning citizen population.
Additionally, we will continue to push back against state efforts to unlawfully purge eligible voters from the rolls. Georgia’s 2018 voter purge is considered one of the largest mass disenfranchisement efforts in U.S. history. In 2019, Georgia attempted to purge nearly 330,000 voters, the second-largest voter purge in the state’s history. During the 2020 cycle and beyond, the SPLC will monitor and challenge voter purges and other attempts to deny the franchise to Georgians. The SPLC will also support legislation that expands Georgia’s existing early voting opportunities and protects against polling place closures.