Georgia Headed to Court Over Voter Verification Law
By Andrew Ramonas | February 23, 2010 9:07 pm

Georgia will go to court over a voter verification law that cannot go into effect without Department of Justice or court approval, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Political Insider blog reported Tuesday.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said the state plans to file a lawsuit seeking clearance for a state law that has twice failed to pass muster with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.

“The State of Georgia will no longer watch the Obama Justice Department play politics with our election processes and protections,” Kemp said in a statement. “The Justice Department is denying Georgia’s legal requirement to verify the information provided by new voter registration applicants.”

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires Georgia and several other states to secure permission, known as pre-clearance, from the DOJ or to obtain a favorable judgment in the D.C. U.S. District Court before changes affecting state voting procedures can go into affect.

The Georgia law at issue requires new voters to undergo a background check that uses information from two databases that contain driver’s license information and Social Security numbers to verify citizenship.

Kemp said he also would seek approval in the suit for a second law, passed last year, that would require voters to present one of several forms of identification verifying U.S. citizenship in order to register to vote.

In May 2009, the DOJ Civil Rights Division informed the state of Georgia that it could not approve the database law because it unfairly burdened a disproportionate number of minorities.

In a letter to Kemp dated Monday, DOJ Civil Rights Division chief Thomas Perez said the DOJ had not changed its position on the program and noted that the state has not yet to submit requested information on both programs.

“[Our] review indicates that the state has not provided any additional information or arguments related to the original voter registration verification program …to support [your] request that the objection to the original program be withdrawn,” Perez wrote. “In light of these considerations, I remain unable to conclude that the state of Georgia has carried out its burden of showing that the original [program] has neither a discriminatory purpose nor a discriminatory effect.”

This post has been corrected from an earlier version.

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2 Comments

  1. gracchus says:

    That’s better

  2. androcles says:

    This is really sloppy. The voter ID issue has been litigated. This is a citizenship verification law — a database law if you need a one-word description. It is not an ID law.

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