I Disagree, Speaker Richardson Has Read It Right

I have to disagree with Decaturguy on the post about Voter ID. As you could suspect, considering my prior involvement in the Voter ID situation, I’m in favor of it and I think it is constitutional.

As Decaturguy noted, Article II, Section 1, Paragraph II, of the Georgia Constitution states

Every person who is a citizen of the United States and a resident of Georgia as defined by law, who is at least 18 years of age and not disenfranchised by this article, and who meets minimum residency requirements as provided by law shall be entitled to vote at any election by the people. The General Assembly shall provide by law for the registration of electors.

But it’s not quite that simple. There are other sections in the Constitution and the section quoted above must be quoted consistent with those other provisions. Here is Article II, Section I, Paragraph I, with emphasis added.

Elections by the people shall be by secret ballot and shall be conducted in accordance with procedures provided by law.

Here is Article II, Section II, Paragraph I of the Constitution, with emphasis added:

The General Assembly shall provide by law for a method of appeal from the decision to allow or refuse to allow any person to . . . vote and shall provide by law for a procedure whereby returns of all elections by the people shall be made to the Secretary of State.

Taken as a whole, it seems to me that Article II, Section I, Paragraph II provides for a general right of the people, over age eighteen, to vote, but the General Assembly has legislative power to regulate the means and methods by which such individuals vote.

To follow Decaturguy’s logic, we must then throw out every requirement for identification to be show at the polls. But, we don’t have to do that because we know from the State Constitution that “Elections by the people shall be by secret ballot and shall be conducted in accordance with procedures provided by law.


  1. Decaturguy says:

    With all due respect, Erick, I think the provision in the Constitution stating that “Elections by the people shall be by secret ballot and shall be conducted in accordance with procedures provided by law.

  2. Decaturguy says:

    I screwed something up on the italics above. Sorry.

    But, Erick, you have to admit that Richardson’s accusation that Judge Bedford’s decision was that of an “activist judge” was nothing but soundbites. Do you really think Richardson even read the opinion before he said that? This, like Judge Russell’s decison on the marriage amendment, were not “activist” at all. There is certainly room for debate as to what the Constitution says, but to call everything you don’t like “activist” is sort of sickening. From my understanding of Judge Bedford’s reputation, he is not a liberal activist by any means.

  3. jsm says:

    Surely, conducting a vote “in accordance with procedures provided by law” doesn’t mean just to set up polling places and let anybody and everybody come vote without ensuring they’re qualified to vote.

    Conduct is an action verb. It has nothing to do with what type of voting machine the legislature dictates.

    Voter registration should be subject to verification of identity as well.

  4. Erick says:

    Actually Decaturguy, I think it was an activist judge’s ruling. He found an arguably plausible bit of the constitution, ignored the surrounding text, and wedged in his ruling as best he could because he is a political hack who buys into the “Republicans are racist and trying to deny people a right to vote” argument.

    The constitution allows the legislature to set up the framework by which a voter’s right can be implemented. Showing an ID is a process by which a voter is identified. If the legislature wants to take every precaution to ensure the right voter is voting, they should be entitled to.

    The argument about registration is a canard. This was just an activist just trying to make his ruling fit.

  5. Erick says:

    A friend pointed out something that I think is worth reiterating. Decaturguy, based on your position that we must take the strict interpretation of the provision, let’s do this:

    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

    So, do we declare all gun laws unconstitutional? After all, the very plain language of that section of the constitution says the right will not be infringed.

  6. Decaturguy says:

    Well, I think obviously, the term “well regulated” makes it clear that the government can regulate the right of the people to bear arms.

    There is no such term under the section of the Georgia Constitution setting up qualifications for voting Actually, it says every personshall be entitled to vote.

    Listen, Erick, for the record, I think your position makes logical sense. But so does Judge Bedford’s. Just because we have a disagreement as to how to interpret the language of the Constitution, doesn’t mean some political hack like Glenn Richardson gets to call a judge and “activist judge” just because he disagrees with his interpretation.

  7. Decaturguy says:

    Oh, and Erick, remember that one of the lead sponsors of the legislation in the House admitted the racial intent of the legislation to the DOJ.

  8. Erick says:

    Decaturguy, that’s just because she’s an idiot. Oh and, grammatically, “well regulated” refers to militia.

    We haven’t even begun to talk about the line “and not disenfranchised by this article” in the paragraph we keep focusing on.

    Yeah, the positions make sense, but I think Judge Bedford had to really reach to get his position.

  9. Mad Dog says:


    That well regulated phrase is very interesting.

    Does it mean no private militia? Unless it is regulated by some state authority?

    Does it mean that any militia should be well organized, well prepared, well armed, … ?

    Or does it refer to the actions of the various militias during combat against British Regulars, where the militia … cut and ran?

    Or all of the above, none of the above, or something else?

    Would examing the opposite, a poorly regulated militia being undesirable….

  10. Bill Simon says:

    I don’t think an “organized militia” is the same thing as a “well-regulated militia.”

    The KKK used to be well-organized but they weren’t regulated, well or otherwise.

  11. Harry says:

    Here’s a thought: Voter fraud is political terrorism. Voters should present the same forms of ID to establish their identity as are required by TSA to board a commercial flight.

  12. Chris says:

    I don’t know if this is the right thread for it, but since the law excerpt I’m quoting is on this post, this is where I’ll make an observation.

    Elections by the people shall be by secret ballot

    How do we know they’re secret ballots? How do we know the computers used to log us in to get our cards to vote are not linked or cross referenced with the data collected in the voting machines?

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