Voting Rights Watch: Citizenship-challenged ballots thrown out in Georgia

As Facing South reported earlier this month, Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) sent letters to 4,770 registered voters telling them that they would have to cast "challenge" ballots that would not be counted on election day because the voters' citizenship was in question.

TPMmuckraker reports that not only will Georgia election officials not be counting many of these challenge ballots, Handel's office told TPMmuckraker that it can't say how many of these disqualified ballots were actually cast by eligible voters.

Georgia has been a hotbed of voting rights issues this election cycle. Facing South has reported extensively on Georgia's controversial system of verifying citizenship that has led to the purging of voters whose citizenship was called into question by the state's database. Voting rights groups have pointed out several flaws in Georgia's voter verification system. Last month the ACLU sued the state of Georgia on behalf of Jose Morales, a Cherokee County voter who was wrongfully targeted to be purged from the roles despite having become a citizen in November 2007.

Last month a panel of judges ruled that the state had to allow the voters whose citizenship was in question to cast challenge ballots. It would then be up to those voters to clear up the matter with their county elections in order for their challenged vote to count. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution looked at several counties and found that many of those voters did not return with the necessary documents by last Friday's deadline, and as a result their ballots will be thrown out.

As TPMmucker reports: now appears almost certain that some ballots cast by eligible voters who were mistakenly flagged, and who then failed to provide election officials with the necessary documents after the fact, are being wrongly thrown out.