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September 21, 2006 12:47 PM UTC

Lets hear it for the third branch of government

  • by: Mr. Toodles

In short, the law was ostensibly created to fight voter fraud. A real outcome is that it disenfranchises voters.

“Georgia Law Requiring Voters to Show Photo ID Is Thrown Out
Judge Says Some Would Be Disenfranchised; State Plans Appeal

By Darryl Fears and Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, September 20, 2006; Page A06

A state judge yesterday rejected a Georgia law requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification, writing in his decision, “This cannot be.”

Fulton County Superior Court Judge T. Jackson Bedford Jr. said the law, pushed by Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) to fight voter fraud, violates the state constitution because it disenfranchises citizens who are otherwise qualified to vote.

State officials vowed to appeal Bedford’s ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court before the Nov. 7 general election.

The timing of the judge’s decision could have political ramifications in Washington. The House is set today to vote on legislation that would require voters in 2008 to present a valid photo identification that “could not have been obtained without proof of citizenship.”

The bill is part of a package of measures designed to demonstrate a new get-tough attitude on illegal immigration and border security.

“There have been enough reports over the years of voter fraud that it is time to have a picture ID to ensure the integrity of our voting process,” House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said yesterday.

Like the Georgia law, the federal legislation would almost certainly be challenged in court. A coalition of interest and civil rights groups, including the NAACP, AARP, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, denounced the bill yesterday, saying it would disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of minority and elderly voters.

Georgia’s law was challenged by Rosalind Lake, an elderly black woman who was left partially blind after being nearly electrocuted in her home, is unable to drive and could not easily obtain a voter ID, her attorney said.

The lawyer, former governor Roy Barnes, argued that even though the state offered to deliver an ID to Lake’s home, it could not do the same for everyone who is similarly challenged.

“We have a low voter participation,” said Barnes, a Democrat. “We’re going to make it more difficult?”

In previous elections, Georgians could present any one of 17 types of identification with their names and addresses, including a driver’s license, utility bill, bank statement or paycheck.

Perdue and other proponents of the law said it is needed to curtail fraud. They cited an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article that said 5,000 dead people were listed as having voted in the eight elections preceding 2000.

But the fraud happened primarily in absentee balloting, Barnes said. Under the new law, absentee voters are not required to show identification.

“This is the most sinister scheme I’ve ever seen,” Barnes said, “and it’s going on nationwide.”

Bedford’s ruling was the latest in a string of court decisions against the Georgia law. Last year, U.S. District Judge Harold L. Murphy issued an injunction against the law, likening it to a segregation-era poll tax because the digital picture ID would cost voters $20.

After the Georgia General Assembly revised the law to issue the ID at no cost, Murphy refused to completely lift the injunction, saying the state did not have time to properly educate voters before July primaries.

In his ruling, Bedford said the law places too much of a burden on voters, regardless of certain state remedies. Voters could cast ballots without identification, but they would have to return to an elections office within two days to prove their identity or forfeit their vote.

“Any attempt by the legislature to require more than what is required by the express language of our Constitution cannot withstand judicial scrutiny,” Bedford said.

Russ Willard, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office, said: “The state has already begun working on its appeal. We plan to file an appeal as soon as possible.”


4 thoughts on “Lets hear it for the third branch of government

  1. They’re more concerned about denying votes to illegals than in diluting the votes of citizens.

    This is because the Dems can only win illegals’ votes. No thinking citzen would vote Dem?

    And Dems are campaigning against corruption in Washington. Corruption at the polls is ok?


    1. Do you have any clue as to the history behind ideas like Voter ID?  It’s called “disenfranchisement”.  In Georgia, getting a proper voter ID would cost voters money (aka a “Poll Tax”).

      If we want voter IDs, we have to ensure that they (1) do not punish people who cannot obtain proper identification due to circumstances beyond their control, (2) do not cost voters money to obtain, and (3) do not disenfranchise voters as they come to the polls for the first time after enacting the law.

      Imagine (and this is based on a true occurrence) the courthouse where your birth certificate resided burned to the ground.  You want to vote, but you need a birth certificate to get your voter ID; you can’t because that record has been destroyed.  Are you content that you can’t vote due to circumstances beyond your control, or are you a pissed off U.S. citizen who’s had his voting rights denied?

      Voter ID is a great idea in theory, but not easy to do in reality.  States (and the Federal Government) can’t just enact it on the cheap and expect it to pass Constitutional muster.  We have voting RIGHTS in this country, not voting PRIVILEGES.

      It’s too bad you can’t think past the cheap shot to get to the real meat of the issue.  I expect more of you, AS – you’re not usually that dismissive.

    2. First of all where do dems want illegal voting? We’ve danced around this issue before so I am hoping that i can get a serious response this time. Seriously, point me to a source, which explicitly proves that if Illegals were allowed to vote that they  would somehow vote en masse dem. Further show me a source that says that dems want to give illegals the ability to vote. A credible source.

      Let me break this down for you again. The vast majority of illegals (and I am going to assume, yet again that you mean Mexicans) are Catholic. And while historically the catholic vote was a democratic vote that is largely no longer true. Persons of mexican descent, who self identify as Catholic are more likely to vote for repubs than dems.

      To answer your question, no, a thinking citizen would vote dem and I am willing to bet that we will see that come November. Second question, again, no, we dems are for suffrage of all citizens who have the right to vote, which means we dont want disenfranchised voters to be turned away because of modern day poll taxes. We think the right to vote is a pretty neat thing and that all eligible citizens should be allowed to do it.

      1. from Another Cynic? Good luck. He claims to be interested in debate but prefers to troll for comments. Go through his comments, count the number of inflammatory declarations he has made, read the often more reasonable replies he gets, and see how he almost always declines to respond.

        He frustrates me because I sense, from some of his posts, that he’s actually in possession of a good analytical mind but chooses to be immature about these discussions.

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