2020 Georgia Code
Title 21 - Elections
Chapter 2 - Elections and Primaries Generally
Article 6 - Registration of Voters
§ 21-2-225. Confidentiality of Original Registration Applications; Limitations on Registration Data Available for Public Inspection; Data Made Available by Secretary of State; Membership in Nongovernmental Entity for Purpose of Sharing and Exchanging Information to Improve Accuracy and Efficiency of Voter Registration Systems

Universal Citation: GA Code § 21-2-225 (2020)
  1. Neither the original applications for voter registration nor any copies thereof shall be open for public inspection except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
  2. Except as provided in Code Section 21-2-225.1, all data collected and maintained on electors whose names appear on the list of electors maintained by the Secretary of State pursuant to this article shall be available for public inspection with the exception of bank statements submitted pursuant to subsection (c) of Code Section 21-2-220 and subsection (c) of Code Section 21-2-417, the month and day of birth, the social security numbers, e-mail addresses, and driver's license numbers of the electors, and the locations at which the electors applied to register to vote, which shall remain confidential and shall be used only for voter registration purposes; provided, however, that any and all information relating to the dates of birth, social security numbers, and driver's license numbers of electors may be made available to other agencies of this state, to agencies of other states and territories of the United States, and to agencies of the federal government if the agency is authorized to maintain such information and the information is used only to identify the elector on the receiving agency's data base and is not disseminated further and remains confidential. Information regarding an elector's year of birth shall be available for public inspection.
  3. It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State to furnish copies of such data as may be collected and maintained on electors whose names appear on the list of electors maintained by the Secretary of State pursuant to this article, within the limitations provided in this article, on electronic media or computer run list or both. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the Secretary of State shall establish the cost to be charged for such data. The Secretary of State may contract with private vendors to make such data available in accordance with this subsection. Such data may not be used by any person for commercial purposes.
    1. The Secretary of State may become a member of a nongovernmental entity whose purpose is to share and exchange information in order to improve the accuracy and efficiency of voter registration systems. The membership of the nongovernmental entity shall be composed solely of election officials of state and territorial governments of the United States, except that such membership may also include election officials of the District of Columbia.
    2. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the Secretary of State may share confidential and exempt information after becoming a member of such nongovernmental entity as provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection.
    3. The Secretary of State may become a member of such nongovernmental entity only if such entity is controlled and operated by the participating jurisdictions. The entity shall not be operated or controlled by the federal government or any other entity acting on behalf of the federal government. The Secretary of State must be able to withdraw at any time from any such membership in such nongovernmental entity.
    4. If the Secretary of State becomes a member of such nongovernmental entity, the Department of Driver Services shall, pursuant to an agreement with the Secretary of State, provide driver's license or identification card information related to voter eligibility to the Secretary of State for the purpose of sharing and exchanging voter registration information with such nongovernmental entity.
    5. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, upon the Secretary of State becoming a member of a nongovernmental entity as provided in this subsection, information received by the Secretary of State from the nongovernmental entity is exempt from disclosure under Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50 and any other provision of law. However, the Secretary of State may provide such information to the boards of registrars to conduct voter registration list maintenance activities.

(Code 1981, §21-2-225, enacted by Ga. L. 1994, p. 1443, § 3; Ga. L. 1995, p. 8, § 1; Ga. L. 1995, p. 1027, § 6; Ga. L. 1996, p. 145, § 8; Ga. L. 1998, p. 295, § 1; Ga. L. 2003, p. 517, § 21; Ga. L. 2004, p. 103, § 1; Ga. L. 2005, p. 253, § 26/HB 244; Ga. L. 2008, p. 781, § 8/HB 1112; Ga. L. 2009, p. 316, § 1/HB 227; Ga. L. 2010, p. 914, § 11/HB 540; Ga. L. 2011, p. 590, § 1/HB 143; Ga. L. 2011, p. 683, § 7/SB 82; Ga. L. 2019, p. 7, § 7/HB 316.)

The 2019 amendment, effective April 2, 2019, added subsection (d).

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2019 amendment of this Code section, see 36 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 81 (2019).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, decisions under former Code 1910, § 58 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Voter list correct but official proceeded in irregular manner.

- Where an ordinary (now judge of the probate court) made up the list of qualified voters in an irregular manner, the mere fact that the ordinary may have proceeded in an irregular manner would not operate to vitiate the election, where it does not also appear that the list as certified and furnished to the ordinary was in fact incorrect. Powell v. Consolidated Sch. Dist. No. 1, 26 Ga. App. 135, 105 S.E. 616 (1921) (decided under former Code 1910, § 58).

Compliance with federal Privacy Act.

- Georgia's voter registration forms do not comply with the notice requirements of § 7(b) of the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, because the form requires an applicant to disclose his or her social security number. Schwier v. Cox, 412 F. Supp. 2d 1266 (N.D. Ga. 2005).

Cited in Walls v. Garrett, 247 Ga. 640, 277 S.E.2d 903 (1981).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, opinions under former Code 1933, §§ 34-401, 34-402, 34-404, 34-622, and 34-623 and former Code Sections 21-2-233 and 21-2-234 are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Responsibility to prepare all electors lists.

- The county board of registrars has both the authority and the responsibility to prepare all lists of electors used within the county to include those for the election of county commissioners. 1979 Op. Att'y Gen. No. U79-23 (decided under former Code 1933, §§ 34-401, 34-402, and 34-622 as it read prior to the 1994 repeal and reenactment by Ga. L. 1994, p. 1443, § 3).

Withholding of name because of change of residence.

- A name may not be withheld from the list of registered voters because of a change of residence unless the board of registrars is convinced by sufficient proof of a change of legal residence. 1945-47 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 275 (decided under former Code 1933, § 34-401).

Access to additional information on electors.

- The names, addresses and ZIP codes of electors must be furnished upon request for the fees set forth in former § 21-2-234. Any additional identifying information as may be collected and maintained must be made available for inspection and copying and a reasonable fee may be charged for expenses incurred or copies furnished. 1984 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 84-39 (decided under former Code Section21-2-234 as it read prior to the 1994 repeal and reenactment by Ga. L. 1994, p. 1443, § 3).

Any citizen has a right to acquire the list of electors, with whatever other information they so desire from local boards of registrars or from the Secretary of State's office without prior official restraint. 1989 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 89-13 (decided under former Code Section 21-2-234 as it read prior to the 1994 repeal and reenactment by Ga. L. 1994, p. 1443, § 3).

The term "commercial purposes" in former § 21-2-234(c) was to be given its customary meaning and refers generally to the manufacture, transportation, traffic, and sale of goods, merchandise, and services of all kind. 1989 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 89-13 (decided under former Code Section21-2-234 as it read prior to the 1994 repeal and reenactment by Ga. L. 1994, p. 1443, § 3).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 25 Am. Jur. 2d, Elections, § 179.

C.J.S.

- 29 C.J.S., Elections, § 75 et seq.

ALR.

- Nonregistration as affecting legality of votes cast by persons otherwise qualified, 101 A.L.R. 657.

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