Dan Tokaji's Blog
Professor Dan Tokaji
Election reform, the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act, and related topics -- with special attention to the voting rights of people of color, non-English proficient citizens, and people with disabilities

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Equal Vote
Tuesday, January 10
More Georgia ID Shenanigans
The Georgia legislature is at it again. This year's legislative session began with a new effort by Georgia's Republicans to push through a requirement that voters present photo identification. The AP has this report, which notes that the new ID proposal was sprung at the hearing of a legislative committee on Monday -- which proceeded to pass it on a 7-4 vote, apparently on party lines. Here's an excerpt from the AP report:
Joe Beasley, the southern regional director of the Rainbow PUSH/Coalition, denounced it as "another scheme to suppress voting." .... Before the vote, he approached the table where lawmakers sat and glared at Rep. Sue Burmeister, the Augusta Republican who was quoted in a Justice Department memo saying that blacks in her district typically vote only if they're paid. "I'm one Negro that votes without being paid," Beasley said.
The new bill follows a federal district court order that enjoined Georgia's prior ID law, on the ground that it denied equal protection and would amount to a poll tax. Under the new proposal, an ID would be provided free of charge to those who don't have one. But this is still a solution in search of a problem. There's no evidence that voters appearing at the polling place pretending to be someone they're not is a real problem. What's become very clear -- particularly given the majority party's rush to get this through committee -- is that the real objective of the ID proposal is not to protect electoral integrity at all, but to impose barriers on those seeking to exercise their right to vote.

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Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University