The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to decide whether voter identification laws unfairly deter poor and minority Americans from voting, stepping into a contentious partisan issue in advance of the 2008 elections.
The justices will hear arguments early next year in a challenge to an Indiana law that requires voters to present photo ID before casting their ballots. The state has defended the law as a way to combat voter fraud.
The state Democratic party and civil rights groups complained that the law unfairly targets poor and minority voters, without any evidence that in-person voter fraud exists in Indiana.
Courts have upheld voter ID laws in Arizona and Michigan, but struck down Missouri’s.
Georgia’s voter ID law survived a major court challenge earlier this month when U.S. District Court Judge Harold Murphy found it did not impose a significant burden on the right to vote. Murphy, in a 159-page ruling, praised the state for its efforts to educate the public about the law.
In June, the Georgia Supreme Court threw out a challenge to that law but sidestepped a decision on whether the requirement was constitutional.