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Voter ID Law Halted but Not Defeated

By Kristina Cates  Posted by Matthew Cardinale (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   No comments
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This article courtesy of Atlanta Progressive news.

(APN) ATLANTA - While Georgia voters were not limited to five forms of ID, instead of the current seventeen, in the recent Primary and Runoff Elections, the possibility is still there that poor, elderly, and disadvantaged voters may be effectively disenfranchised in the General Election or some future election.

Voter advocates are concerned the preliminary injunction against Georgia's Voter ID law in Federal Court won't be renewed for the next round of elections.

The proposed law, which would be the most restrictive in the country, is still considered by many as overly burdensome to voters.

The state injunction, spearheaded by former governor Roy Barnes, is still holding strong, however.

Neil Bradley of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Voter ID Project, who is working on the federal case out of Rome, Georgia, is simply taking each injunction as it comes.

It is not possible to strike down the law itself, unless Georgia lawmakers decide to do that, Atlanta Progressive News has learned. Instead, the ACLU and others continue to fight in the courts against the law's application in individual elections.

Even by making the ID's free, there is still an expense incurred that disenfranchises groups like the poor, disabled, rural, and elderly voters, to name a few, Bradley argues. The expense comes from transportation, fees to purchase copies of documents required to receive the ID in the first place, as well as any time away from work needed.

Bradley disagrees with the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Harold Murphy, who said that while the current law is unconstitutional, he wasn't ruling out the possibility of an ID law in the future.

Bradley says the current forms of ID required are more than adequate, and that more restrictive identification rules are unnecessary.

Minority groups are not the only ones affected, he says. All Georgians would suffer an additional burden. "Should Governor Purdue lose his Driver's License on Election Day, he wouldn't be able to vote," Bradley said.

The project, which is a part of the ACLU's extensive voter rights work, has been very much involved in the suit. Their research, funding, and representation continue to be instrumental in repelling the proposed law.

Meanwhile, other advocates have made contingency plans to educate voters in the event the Voter ID law arises again.

Susan Somach, for instance, is prepared to work directly with Georgians to ensure they understand the proposed law, and what it would mean for them. Somach, who has worked both domestically and internationally for fair elections, is educating voters on the requirements.

Somach has obtained a list from the state of voters who do not have Driver's Licenses; the list was created from a cross-tabulation, but is not complete or have phone numbers, she says.

While she feels that the law is reprehensible, she also argues that giving the public as much access as possible to the information they need is priority one.

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Matthew Cardinale is Editor of Atlanta Progressive News. He has written previously for the Sun-Sentinel Newspaper, Shelterforce Magazine, The Advocate Magazine, The San Francisco Bay View, and the Berkeley Daily Planet Newspaper. He has also (more...)
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