Georgia's Exact Match Voter-ID Law Tossed by Federal Judge

By Lisa M. Schaffer, Esq. on November 05, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Things are heating up in Georgia, and that's odd for early November. Unless, of course, it's an election year. Highlighting a recent string of national headlines, U.S. District Court Judge Eleanor Ross declared that Georgia's current voting procedures unconstitutionally disenfranchises certain voters, and therefore the state must change current processes to make it easier for people flagged under the state's restrictive "exact match" law to vote.

Exact Match Violated the Spirit of Voter Laws

The "exact match" law flags registrations for any voters that have even the slightest discrepancy from proof of identity, such as dropped hyphens or erroneously spelled middle names. The new procedures for those flagged as potential non-citizens was that they had to be cleared first by a deputy registrar before being able to vote.

Opponents argued that this heavy burden effectively disenfranchised these voters, who are predominantly minority, and that an easier method to prove citizenship of these "exact match" flagged registrations should be adopted instead. Incidentally, or perhaps not, the defendant in this case is Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is running against Stacey Abrams, an African American, for the Governor's office.

US Passport Should Suffice to Prove Citizenship

Judge Ross issued a preliminary injunction to allow those flagged registrations, about 3,100 in total, to prove their citizenship in a kindler, gentler fashion, such as showing a US passport or something similar to a poll manager. This seems much less of a burden, and more fair to flagged voters.

According to some sources, Kemp has stalled more than 50,000 voter registrations, predominantly belonging to black voters, under the state's exact-match requirements. In the ruling, Judge Ross ordered Kemp's Secretary of State team to issue press releases to clear up this matter with the public immediately, since Voter Tuesday is just around the corner. Ross also signaled to defendants that if they were to continue with this lawsuit, she would stay the injunction and rule against them.

Your right to vote is a basic tenet of our American political system, and one of the things that makes America great. These rights shouldn't be taken lightly, nor should they be taken away unjustly. If you feel that you are being disenfranchised, in violation of your constitutional rights, contact a local civil rights attorney. A seasoned veteran can listen to the facts of your case, and help determine if you have a legal right of action, and best next steps to take.

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