Voter ID law blocked–again

“With less than two weeks to go before the July 18 primary, a Superior Court judge on Friday issued a restraining order blocking enforcement of Georgia’s voter ID law,” according to an AP report published by AccessNorthGA.com.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Melvin Westmoreland wrote that “the current statute unduly burdens the fundamental right to vote rather than regulate it and irreparable harm will result if the 2006 Photo ID Act is not enjoined.”

Westmoreland continued, saying that “where the right of suffrage is fixed in the Constitution it cannot be restricted by the legislature, but only by the people through an amendment to the Constitution.”

The report concludes:

Georgia’s Republican-led Legislature first adopted a voter ID law in 2005, but a federal judge blocked its enforcement, saying it amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax. Early this year, lawmakers amended the law to make the IDs free and to ensure they are available in each of the state’s 159 counties. 

Former Governor Roy Barnes, who argued the case in court on Thursday, “accused the Republican party of cooking up photo ID as a political ploy to suppress the votes of poor, elderly and minority voters who tend to cast Democratic ballots,” according to the AJC.

This is the second time in two years that a Voter ID law has been blocked by a court; with the striking down of this legislation, Westmoreland has once again made it legal not only to use non-photo ID to vote, but also, in the absence of any ID, to “attest to their identity under oath.”

A poll manager from Oconee County responded by saying, “one day they tell me to accept the 6 forms [of ID], then the 17 forms…this is getting old.”   

19 comments

  1. LINDA says:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode42/usc_sec_42_00001971—-000-.html

    This ruling is crazy. Look at this code about voting: A state may require that a test be given to vote, so long as all voters take the same test and a copy of the results are presented to each voter (it must be a written test). So how can an ID that is given out free be deemed a hardship, so long as the same standard applies to all voters? Yes, I know that absentee ballots could be a problem (supposedly), but I am very skeptical of a problem in this area.

  2. LINDA says:

    TITLE 42 > CHAPTER 20 > SUBCHAPTER I > § 1971 Prev | Next

    § 1971. Voting rights

    Somehow the link messed up but this is the section on the link.

  3. benevolus says:

    I guess I would like to hear the argument for what problem a photo ID would solve, and how a photo ID would solve it.

  4. bowersville says:

    Ben, Go to Walmart and cash a check, you’ll find out what happens without a photo ID.

  5. StevePerkins says:

    I guess I would like to hear the argument for what problem a photo ID would solve, and how a photo ID would solve it.

    It would solve the problem of people being able to commit voter fraud by simply “proclaiming their identity under oath”. It would do this while imposing no burden on registered voters, certainly no burden that comes close to that of voter registration in the first place.

    A drivers license or other photo ID may be had for $10 every 5-10 years, making Jim Crow “poll tax” arguments ludicrous. The only rational reason one could have for opposing this is if they don’t want to lose the ability to have unregistred voters fraudulantly vote for their candidates.

  6. JP says:

    If they announce this requirement (photo ID) and warn people of its implementation in advance, giving the roughly 700,000 people without such IDs time to comply, I might go for it. But at this point, it’s not fair.

  7. Bill Simon says:

    Steve Perkins,

    We have FAR MORE people voting absentee who proclaim who they are without an ID to prove it. Why aren’t you the least bit concerned with that? They get to fill-out a ballot that has ZERO chance of being challenged.

  8. benevolus says:

    That’s not really the way it works though, Steve. It’s not like there is no registration and qualification process. Everyone has to register, and the state prepares the poll book listing the eligible voters. When you show up to vote, you are just confirming that you are the registered voter already listed in the book. And it is a felony to lie about that.

    Someone who wanted to impersonate a voter would first have to identify a registered voter they could impersonate. They would want to be pretty sure their victim was going to vote opposite their preference or else it wouldn’t be worth it. They would also want to get to the poll before their victim does or they would likely get caught. They will also want to pick someone not in their own precinct so they don’t have to go there twice and risk being recognized. Then they have to take their victims’ name, address, and birth date with them so they can fill out the affadavit, commit the felony by forging the signature, and hope no one working that precinct knows the person being impersonated. All this to change one vote?

  9. UGAMatthew says:

    I look at it like this:

    The basic argument against the id is that we should not in any way place a restriction on the most basic and sacred right of law abiding American citizens.

    An argument which I comletely agree with.

    However, the id is not a restriction. I use that same argument in a different light. Suffrage is our most sacred right and I want to ensure that it stays the sacred right of every eligible citizen. The surest way for that NOT to happen would be to turn a blind eye to voter fraud. In person voter fraud is the target of this law. With that said, I agree that its imperative to address all voter fraud, but absentee fraud is a convenient way for opponents of this law to draw attention away from it; a red herring.

    We must do all we can to protect our most basis right without infringing upon it, which is what some say Georgia has done with this law. This is just not the case.

    Steve you mentioned citizesns being able to get $10 licenses…they can FREE id’s to vote with. They need not even have a driver’s license.

    The argument revolving around the contingency of disenfranchised voters is weak. The state made every provision to ensure that every citizen had or has access to an id or the means to recieve one, thereby rendering all citizens equal within that context and making the argument of disenfrachisement lame. Much less, that this was targeting a certain demographic.

    Benevolus, it can be much easier than that in GA. Our registered voter rolls are a laughing stock. There are cases, where all of that work you just mentioned is done by a dead person. Or someone registering in multiple precincts. The point is, it may be tough sometimes to to do, but I dare you to argue that in-person voting fraud doesn’t happen. We need to address that problem. And again, I am with you on the absentee issue, but it is irrelevant in this argument. You can’t oppose a solution to one problem because there is another problem to address. That’s not logical. That’s like being opposed to follwing the speed limit because we need to address people not stopping at stop signs. It’s just not a logical argument against this law. It’s a great issue in and of itself and one we must address as well. But come on, you can’t rely on it to oppose the voter id law.

  10. LINDA says:

    We do things right in Georgia, especially Macon. Why we even have the President of the City Council in Macon that supposedly lived in a house in the City with no plumbing and no evidence that anyone resided in the house according to neighbors. She supposedly live in Fort Valley, but our Elections Board voted to allow her to run. So, yes we have a problem with voter fraud. And yes, we have a problem with candidates running for posts that they are not qualified to run for.

  11. benevolus says:

    Excuse me, but you state a false premise and then try to refute your own premise. I can accept reasonable safeguards to ensure fair and accurate elections, and I don’t know anyone who is advocating “no restrictions” on voting. This photo ID bill is not fair and it solves no discernable problem.

    How could I prove that voter impersonation fraud doesn’t happen? We both know that there is no evidence of it, no one has been able to show any yet. Why don’t you prove that it does happen? That might justify your position supporting a law that makes it harder for some people to vote. And while you are at it, please show how a photo ID would solve the problem.

    We now have new electronic poll books that should address any concerns with multiple registrations and dead people voting (which have nothing to do with photo ID’s anyway). I’ll see your red herring and raise you two!

  12. UGAMatthew says:

    1st:
    Proof of voter fraud, in-person fraud:
    According to an article published by Jim Wooten in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on August 2, 2005, a member of the Fulton County Board of Registrars and Elections testified during a legislative debate that implementing a photographic identification requirement would be a “good idea

  13. benevolus says:

    1. The illustration that fraudulent voter registrations were submitted is hardly relevant to a discussion about showing a photo ID at the poll on election day. Indeed, the fact that the fraud was discovered -apparently during the registration process -supports the contention that the existing system works.

    The second case just mentions “invalid ballots

  14. Bill Simon says:

    Whoa, Bene…Whoaaaaaaaaaaaa!

    You say this: “You have no constitutional right to buy beer”.

    ‘Dem dere’s fightin’ words to UGA grads…you best get back on your horsey and ride out of town back to Alabammy or whatever state U R from.

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