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Like many of you, our eyebrows raised when we first read this headline out of Georgia: “Fulton election results show more than 100% turnout in 4 precincts.” The culprit causing strange turnout during this primary election? Confusion at the polls over newly redistricted precincts. Because Fulton County failed to revise their voter rolls in time, many voters were erroneously listed in the wrong districts and thus showed up at the wrong place to vote.
Even as many state leaders bang the drum about non-existent problems like voter impersonation and continue their misguided campaigns to erect harmful barriers like voter photo ID requirements (which Georgia has enacted), this story is an important reminder that the bulk of election irregularities actually occur because of administrative challenges at the polling place--or a simple lack of good information getting to voters in the first place.
This confusion could have been prevented, at least in part, if voters and election workers were better informed of things like new district lines, polling place hours and locations, and any other changes that could impact their voting experience. Leagues throughout the country are dedicated to doing this work in advance of the November election. They’re not only registering new voters, for example on college campuses and at naturalization ceremonies, but also working to ensure already registered voters are aware of changes and working with elections officials to ensure they have the resources and capacity they need to handle an influx of new voters.