[JURIST] The US Department of Justice [official website] signed off on a new Georgia law [PDF text; bill summary] Friday that will require voters to present a valid photo ID when they vote in elections. Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue [official website] initially approved the bill in January after its passage [JURIST report] by the Georgia state legislature [official website], but under the federal Voting Rights Act [DOJ backgrounder], states with a past history of discrimination must have federal approval before making changes to their election laws.
Civil rights, religious and community groups asked the DOJ to block implementation of the law [JURIST report] last month, arguing that it disproportionately discriminates against the poor, elderly, and minorities, who may have trouble securing the proper identification. The revised version of the law offers free photo IDs to voters who need them, after a federal judge blocked [JURIST report] a previous version of the Georgia law last year. AP has more.