Latest Georgia voter ID law challenged by rights advocates

[JURIST] Georgia's latest attempt to implement photo identification cards for voters was challenged Wednesday by the ACLU and other voting rights advocates, who filed a motion [PDF text] in federal district court seeking a preliminary injunction, arguing that the bill [SB 84 materials] authorizing the cards violates the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment [text] as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [text], and that it constitutes a poll tax in violation of the Twenty-fourth Amendment [text]. Unlike the original law, which was blocked [JURIST report] last year by a federal judge, SB 84 would provide free voter ID cards, but the motion challenges the statute as imposing burdens on Georgia citizens without increasing protections against voter fraud. The motion reads, in part:

The 2006 Act imposes a severe burden on the poor, the elderly, the infirm, and the less literate who either cannot afford a car, or are no longer able to drive, and who are, therefore, the least mobile of our citizens and least able to make a special trip to the county registrar's office to obtain a "Georgia identification card" or to navigate the requirements of voting absentee.
In April, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) approved the new Georgia law [JURIST report], as required by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 [US DOJ backgrounder], certifying that the DOJ believes the law does not have a racially discriminatory purpose and won't make minority voters worse off than before the change. The state will submit briefs in support of the law on Monday, and on Wednesday the district court will hear oral arguments regarding the injunction. Barring judicial intervention, the voter ID cards could be used for the first time in a state primary scheduled for July 18.

Read the ACLU press release on Wednesday's filing. AP has more. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has local coverage.


 

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