The recent voter registration challenge involving James McWarder in Georgia has brought attention to the essential right of citizens to challenge voter registrations. Citizens have a right not only to vote, but to ensure their vote is not diluted or nullified by illegal voting.
James McWarder’s case, wherein a citizen, Gail Lee, initiated a voter registration challenge on a voter registered at a business instead of a residence, prompts a closer examination of citizen involvement in ensuring the accuracy of voter rolls. This situation underscores the need for clear guidelines and fair processes that allow citizens to participate actively in upholding the integrity of the electoral system.
In Georgia, citizens have the ability to challenge any and all voter registrations. This is a fundamental right. This right ensures that the voter rolls stay accurate and remain open to scrutiny by those who wish to hold their election officials accountable.
Gail Lee had a right to bring forward a challenge to McWarder’s registration. Formerly homeless, McWarder used a barber shop as his address when registering to vote. In a CBS investigative report, McWarder suggests that Lee’s challenge is simply founded on a racial basis. However, all voters must register at their actual residence, regardless of race.
After Lee’s challenge, the system worked as it was intended. McWarder was able to update his address, and his right to vote was fully restored.
Officials should be elected by only those citizens who live in their district, so it is crucial that voters are registered where they actually live. Voter registrars should be just as concerned about the accuracy of the voter rolls as the citizens challenging them. After all, if the voter registrars are doing their jobs properly, they would be investigating inaccurate and illegal registrations. The citizens would not have to step in.
The case of James McWarder and the citizen challenge initiated by Gail Lee underscore the importance of citizens actively participating in upholding the integrity of voter registrations.
In Texas, registered voters in a county have the same right to challenge voter registrations of other voters in their county. The first step is to alert the voter registrar to inaccurate information on the voter rolls, prompting the registrar to investigate. If the voter registrar fails or refuses to act, the citizen can formally challenge the registration in a hearing.
When the government fails to act, the citizens must stand in the gap.