Georgia Voter ID

Jim Wooten takes on the voter ID bill with facts, not scare tactics.

Fully 80 percent of Georgians are satisfied with a photo ID voting requirement %u2014 and, in truth, getting state-issued photo IDs for those who don’t already have them is nothing more than a civic club or voter-registration group project. As of February, 6,675,100 voting-age Georgians had either a driver’s license or a state-issued photo ID. That’s 2,260,437 more than were on the state’s voter registration rolls.

Wooten also adds this important tidbit:

Atlanta attorney Harry W. MacDougald, a Republican member of the Fulton County Board of Registrations and Elections, testified during the legislative debate. “Our experience in Fulton County is typical of the problem and illustrates why a photo ID requirement is a good idea,” he said. “We received 2,456 voter registration applications that appear to be entirely fraudulent.”

Those were discovered because the board sent letters to 8,112 applicants whose registration forms had missing information. Of those, the board got only 55 responses. “That is a response rate of 0.678 percent,” MacDougald said. “That is a non-response rate of 99.32 percent. Thus, almost all of them were bogus.”

Between the primary and general election last year, Fulton got 45,907 new registrations. When precinct cards were mailed to addresses just provided, 3,071 were returned as undeliverable. Of those, 921 people actually voted in November.

Another Republican member, Atlanta attorney J. Randolph Evans, argued that because Georgia’s electronic voting system provides no audit trail, the implications of voter fraud are even more serious. “Once the ‘cast ballot’ button is touched, the ballot is transmitted into a collective pool without a trace.”


  1. Just a few months ago, I had a friend of mine that lived in Athens mail me a CD in Atlanta. He had the correct postage on it, but it was returned as undeliverable. Who knows why?

    Mail can get returned for all kinds of reasons, including someone with a different last name living with you. I have a roommate that is not related to me that is very lazy and wouldn’t fill out a change of address form. He’s had stuff mailed here that was returned to sender because the post office will check to see if that person has updated their address to the one on the envelope — he hadn’t, and it got returned.

    So, once again, less than solid proof that this voter ID bill is needed. Ironically, Randy Evans makes a much more valid point — there is no way to validate a recount on these voting machines. I feel much worse about not knowing for certain how 100% of Fulton’s ballots were counted than knowing that maybe less than 0.3% of those votes (921 out of over 300,000) were questionable. And I say maybe because a returned letter is not conclusive.

    But, by focusing on this ID bill, we see where the state Republican party’s priorities are — targetting a sliver of the population because their demographic profile doesn’t line up with the GOP instead of taking on a huge problem (the new voting machines) that so far hasn’t interfered with the GOP’s rise to power in the state.

  2. waterboy says:

    chris isn’t hard core….he’s weak. Ever try to get in the “Sloppy” Floyd building across from the State Capitol in Atlanta without a photo ID? How about making it to your flight at Hartsfield-Jackson? You can’t do it, and neither can Christopher.

    Republican priorities???? 80% public approval and bi-partisan support…help us understand your logic Chris. It is a necessary measure to keep one vote per person and carries the “common sense” stamp all over it.

  3. Tater Tate says:

    The only reason the dems are screaming about this is that it makes it a little harder for them to steal elections.

    If the Justice Department strikes this down, it will be the best reason yet for not renewing the VRA.

  4. Booray says:

    Waterboy –

    Good point. Been to the Floyd building to visit the SOS business filing office and had to show photo ID.

    Maybe we should picket the Sloppy Floyd building, since its photo ID requirement “intimidates” minorities and old people who might like to visit the offices of their state government… 🙂

  5. I cannot remember the last time I ever had to show my photo ID at the Sloppy Floyd building and a security guard glanced at it for more than 1/10th of a second, and they never look at it up close. In fact, I could probably be using about anyone’s ID and I could get in just fine.

    Waterboy — congratulations on being an elitist Republican. The kind of people I am talking about have probably never flown in their life and likely never will. You’d probably wash your hands immediately if you had to shake theirs’.

    PeachPundit commenters: You once again prove that you will not address the substance of any comment you disagree with. I addressed Randy Evans complaints to Jim Wooten that people who have had mail returned by the Fulton County registrar then voted by saying that I have had mail returned to me and from me for no reason I can put my finger on.

    The Voter ID bill is a complicated is more complicated than it seems to public opinion. Those of us that comment on blogs probably have had a photo ID (most likely a drivers license) since we were old enough to get one. We fly on planes, rent videos, incorporate businesses. So does a lot of the population. Personally, having to show a state issued photo ID is no problem for me — I’ve got one and it’s not unreasonable. Won’t slow down the line at my voting precinct. My guess is that in public opinion polls, the 80+% of the state that has a photo ID feels the same way.

    They hear there is a law that says you have to show a photo ID to vote and they think no big deal. But there are still a lot of people in this state that live in a different world, I’ve addressed them before in comments. That’s probably the other 20%.

    Look at it this way, I would guess that over 80% of the state thinks that a law that states you must be able to read to vote is OK and has “bipartisan” support. Does that make that OK? Once 50%+1 of the country wants to pull troops out of Iraq will PeachPundit and its commenters glorify the wisdom of that decision?

  6. Booray says:

    Chris –

    You’re killing yourself. People will never agree with you, because they can’t understand why people shouldn’t prove their identity before voting. “If you ain’t got nothing to hide…”

    The argument about somehow being too poor or old or decrepit to get an ID is ridiculous. You can get a free ID under this bill if you don’t have the money to buy one. And it is utterly amazing to me that we are supposed to believe people are too old and decrepit to go get an ID but they are well enough to get out and vote.

    There is no logic behind opposing a photo ID requirement. None. Period. The more hysterical Democrats get about this, the more they are driving a wedge between themselves and the voting public.

  7. stephaniemills21 says:

    If there is no logic behind not requiring a photo ID to Vote then why in hell did the GOP controlled General Assembly make it easier to vote without one when they vote absentee? Read the bill.

    Also, what about people who have to travel three counties over to get a state issued ID. (only like 50 license centers in the state and 159 counties. And there is not even one within Atlanta’s city limits) They will have to first get someone to drive them there. And then have to plead poverty to get for free something they never had a need for in the past. And there are some people who only have to travel down the block to vote. Not a real hardship, especially when people who live in nursing homes and the like get free transpotation to the polls on election day.

    Having to show an ID is not a bad requirement, but we have to realize that there are a lot of people for whom this would be a hardship. Now, in the next decade or so, they would all die off (kind of harsh, but true), but what are we to do for them in the meantime. Make them jump through hoops and hardships to do something that is the right of every citizen.

    I would have had a lot less of a problem with the requirement if the right’s concern was not so disengenous and actually addressed all voter fraud. It happens most often with absentee ballots, not with the issues the bill addresses.

  8. Look, if I agree that the principle of people showing an ID to vote is not a bad thing, would anyone on here who is in favor of this bill agree that there will be hardships because of this law for a non-zero (probably greater than 1% but less than 5%) number of Georgia voters?

    That’s basically all I’m looking for. All of us fly on planes and have photo ID’s. That’s been settled. We’re commenting on blogs in our spare time. That probably puts us in the top 1% of the top 1% of sophisticated citizens in the world. But not everyone out there has an ID. And not everyone lives near an ID center. And for some people, travelling to get an ID could be a distance hundreds of times farther than travelling to vote, which could literally be right down the street.

    It would be nice if there were some acknowledgement that this isn’t just (pardon the phrase) a black and white issue. Yes, people can get a free ID under this bill. If they don’t have a DL and a car, how are they going to get there to get one?

    The following is an extreme example, but imagine a voter who lives in Saint George, Ga who doesn’t have an ID. There is a DDS center in Waycross, Kingsland and Valdosta. It takes 1 hour 44 minutes to get to Waycross (3+ hours round trip), 1 hour 10 minutes to get to Kingsland and 2 hours 32 minutes to get to Valdosta. Imagine this person is 85 years old and rarely leaves the house and never leave Saint George. The amount of time it takes to vote is close to the limit for their own comfort that they can leave their house in one period of time.

    And now, in order to vote in 2006 they have to take at the very least a 2 1/2 hour car ride (if they go to Kingsland).

    And look, let me get out ahead of the responses to this comment. I know, 80% of Georgia doesn’t give a shit about this scenario and hardship. People that comment here should be smart enough to acknowledge the need for verifying the integrity of our election system while also not disenfranchising legitimate voters. We can chew gum and walk at the same time.

  9. Rebel says:

    If it’s so easy to cast an abseentee ballot…and…you don’t need an ID to do so, why can’t the poor people of St. George just do that? Problem solved – crisis averted – next issue!

  10. Booray says:

    It is my understanding that absentee voting was not subjected to the same photo ID standard because of exactly the situation described by Rebel: if they are shut-in, it helps them. Don’t remember where I heard that, but read it in some of the media reports.

    Another thing – there is an assumption that keeping older voters away from the polls helps Republicans. However, I recall seeing numerous polls showing Republicans do better with older voters mostly because of moral issues.

    In the end, this is simply amazing. Rep. Jerry Keen points out in the AJC that there are 2.3 million more drivers than voters in GA, and we weep and gnash our teeth because of some supposed disenfranchisement caused by a simple photo ID requirement.

    I’m not sure how a human being gets by the post-9/11 world without a photo ID anyway. Oh well…

    p.s. The governor announced yesterday there would be mobile units to give driver’s licenses and photo ID’s to help with that situation. Will be interested to see if that has a positive effect on any of the criticism.

  11. Booray says:

    I also want to offer a perspective that has not been mentioned yet:

    Since when is voting supposed to be a zero-work, zero-investment, no-requirement activity?

    If we pursue a policy of making it possible for those in even the most extreme circumstances be able to vote with no requirements whatsoever, aren’t we out of touch with the real world where it always takes a little work to get what you want?

  12. waterboy says:

    Chrisishardcore’s ramblings offer great insight into the “logic” of those opposed to this common sense law. Such wisdom most likely supports voting rights for illegal aliens….oh, and maybe they can pick up their drivers license while they are there too!

    Booray hits the nail on the head….photo ID neysayers should keep the weekend rally alive since security at “Sloppy” Floyd (which houses the Dept. of Education, Dept. of Natural Resources and offices for Secretary of State, among others), plus the GA Dept. of Transportation, Dept. of Agriculture, and even the U.S. Federal building (and several more), requires a photo ID to enter. Such “intimidationâ€? of minorities, the elderly, and countless others (if you believe Chris) who might like to visit these state and federal government offices is unfair! They can’t meet with public servants, or are at least unfairly burdened, just trying to access their own government. SHOCKING isn’t it. Better get the crayons and posterboard!

  13. Look, I’ve been nice and civil and have tried to engage in legitimate debate, even though many of the commenters here have not shown the same courtesy to me, as they’d rather call me a crybaby or a ranting lunatic than address the merits of my arguments.

    Very simply:

    If you are worried about people casting ballots illegally, specifically those that don’t have ID’s, then how could you support a bill that actually makes it a lot easier to do just that with absentee ballots?

    If the integrity of the ballot box is your primary concern, as nearly everyone on this forum claims, you should not support this bill because of the loopholes large enough to drive a truck through that this bill opened up concerning absentee balloting.

    Having read the whole bill, not just the part about photo ID’s at the polls, one would come to the conclusion that supporters of this bill can’t really be that concerned with the integrity of the ballot box.

    If election fraud and preventing said fraud is a primary concern of yours, you should not support this bill. I’m not saying you can’t support a photo ID requirement, but this bill as a whole does more harm to the integrity of Georgia’s elections than good. It’s as simple as that. So why do many Republicans actually support this bill — because it makes it harder for a minority of Georgians to vote, a group that overwhelmingly votes for Democrats, and it makes it easier for people to vote absentee, a group that overwhelmingly votes for Republicans.

    Again, it’s as simple as that. If any Republican commenters on here would like to have a real discussion about a) the hardships this bill will incure on some Georgians and b) why absentee balloting safeguards were basically done away with then I would love to continue this discussion. Otherwise continue with the Sloppy Floyd minutiae and the discussion about how voting actually isn’t a right and people should have to work for it, etc etc.

    On another note, I believe Booray is right, older white voters skew pretty Republican. My guess is that older white voters who don’t have a photo ID are probably very downscale economically which may mean that unlike their better-off peers, they are still more Democratic.

  14. Booray says:

    Chris –

    They didn’t do away with absentee ballot safeguards. I think the only change was making it “no excuse” instead of having to list a reason for voting absentee.

    That was more of an acknowledgement of reality than anything else. People were just lying about their reason anyway.

    NOTE: I went back and read the legislation. The new law requires first-time voters who registered by mail and are voting absentee to show ID (not necessarily photo) in their absentee ballot. I understand this is a provision similar to the federal law passed a couple years back that Democrats almost filibustered because it “suppressed” blacks and older voters. At some point, one begins to question Democrat motives on this.

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