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Supremes uphold Ga.’s voter ID law
By JIM WALLS
Georgians must show valid photo identification before casting a ballot, the Georgia Supreme Court said today in a 6-1 decision.
The high court upheld a 2006 law that requires voters to produce a government-issued photo identification when they register to vote and again whenever they show up at the polls. The Democratic Party of Georgia, arguing the requirement disenfranchised poor and minority voters, filed suit in 2008 to challenge the law.
Said the court, in an opinion authored by Justice Hugh Thompson:
“As did virtually every other court that considered this issue, we find the photo ID requirement as implemented in the 2006 Act to be a minimal, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory restriction which is warranted by the important regulatory interests of preventing voter fraud.”
The law specifies six types of acceptable photo IDs, including a driver’s license, a passport and a free voter identification card issued by the Secretary of State’s Office, which oversees elections in Georgua.
Justice Robert Benham, the court’s one dissenter, argued that getting the “free” ID card is actually tougher than registering to vote because of the extent of the documentation that is required. He said the ID requirement imposes a burden to solve a problem that has not been proven to exist:
“Citizens at the margins of our society (i.e., the poor, infirm, and elderly) are still effectively being disenfranchised in the name of the government’s purported interest in preventing voting frauds that have not been proven to occur at any rate of significance.”