Second Court Blocks Voter Photo IDs in Georgia
by Tula Connell, Sat Jul 08, 2006 at 07:20:07 AM EDT
Crossposted from Daily Kos.
With voting rights under attack in states across the nation--not to mention the effort by Southern Republicans to hold up reauthorization of the federal Voting Rights Act--it's great to learn today that a judge for the second time has blocked a Republican-sponsored effort to require Georgia voters to present government-issued photo identification cards before they can cast a ballot.
According the The New York Times:
The judge, Melvin K. Westmoreland of Fulton County Superior Court, said the requirement violated the State Constitution by placing an undue burden on the fundamental right to vote.
Although the legislature passed the requirement, Judge Westmoreland said, such a change would require citizens to approve an amendment to the State Constitution, which now says only that voters must be 18 years old, mentally competent and state residents.
The law was struck down in October by a federal judge, who said the requirement that voters buy the card amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax.
The article, buried on A10 in the Saturday edition, quotes Republican Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue who signed the measure into law earlier this year as saying the voter ID requirement was needed to ensure the integrity of the ballot box. (To its credit, The New York Timeseditorialized against Republican efforts to limit voting in Ohio and Florida.)
Georgia launched the first volley in state attacks on voting rights, but other states soon followed. In May, Missouri's Republican-dominated legislature passed one of the nation's most restrictive voting bills, requiring voters to show government-issued photo ID cards before they can cast a ballot. Election officials estimate the new law could disenfranchise as many as 190,000 voters, mainly people of color, seniors and people with disabilities.