By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Election rolls arent only source for jury lists
Placeholder Image

One classic excuse for not registering to vote comes from an aversion to jury duty.

"I have noticed that people who have been registered before, they will call and say ‘I would like to have my name taken from the voters' list, because I don't want to be called for jury (duty),'" said Charlotte Sosebee, Hall County's election supervisor.

"That's saying a lot more than just saying ‘I don't want to be a juror.' That's saying ‘I don't want a voice in the elections process.' And to me, that's a serious thing."

The assumption is that jury lists are picked directly from voter registries. But actually, that's only half true.

"You can not register to vote and still end up in the jury pool," said Hall County Clerk of Courts Charles Baker.

Hall County's Jury Commissioners pick residents for jury duty from a list compiled mostly of Hall County's voter registry and Georgia's Department of Driver Services list. That's the case with most counties in Georgia.

In other words, a strategy for avoiding jury duty would require a resident to avoid getting a driver's license or personal identification card.

Dena M. Adams, superior court clerk of White County, said the idea that jury duties only come from voter registration has "always been myth."

"We use more than that," she said.

In Hall County, there are more than 33,000 Hall residents on the county's jury list, of about 180,000 total residents.

That comes from DDS driver and personal ID lists, Hall County's voter registry and from qualified residents who can actually request to be added to the jury duty list, according to Greg Whitmire, Hall County's chief deputy clerk of court.

Those lists are updated regularly to bring in more names and to strike names because of "deaths, departments from the county and felony convictions," Whitmire wrote.

A new state law that goes into effect this summer will solidify Hall County's main sources for voters lists, said Gary Yates, a former Gwinnett County Clerk of Courts and an instructor with the Georgia Superior Court Clerk's Authority.

Yates said currently board of jury commissioners in each county are responsible for determining the names that appear on master county jury lists.

"The county lists were determined locally," Yates said.

A new methodology will be put in place in July where a master list will be compiled statewide from DDS and voter registry lists.