The Richmond County Board of Elections decided Friday night that Executive Director Lynn Bailey should scrutinize a list of voters whose addresses appear to be vacant lots or abandoned houses. Bailey said she will present a full report next month along with a plan of action to improve the accuracy of voter rolls.
The board’s decision comes after The Augusta Chronicle uncovered dozens of voters with ineligible addresses, including vacant lots and businesses addresses. Georgia law requires voters to use their residential address rather than their business address.
Bailey said the newspaper uncovered some problems she did not know existed. She said she confirmed that several voters on the newspaper’s list were registered at addresses that turned out to be vacant lots. She said a few of the voters have undated their addresses in recent months, but most have not.
She said one voter was stopped at the polls Tuesday and asked to update his address, which was a vacant lot. He declined and his ballot was rejected by the Board of Elections, she said.
The Chronicle matched Augusta government databases and with voter registration data to find suspected addresses. The newspaper then found some of the voters living in other counties and even outside the state.
Bailey said she is seeking a list of houses scheduled to be destroyed by the city and other information that could be used to update the voter registration rolls.
Board member L.C. Myles said he is confident that existing city property data can be used to build a system that will screen inaccurate addresses when people use them to register to vote. He said the trick is keeping the information up to date as old houses are torn down and new ones built.