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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

GA's Voter ID Law Blocked In US District Court

The text of the opinion is available at the Votelaw blog here. 123 pages, so I will be reading for a bit.

I'm surprised, because this law did several things. It did require a photo ID to vote, but it also liberalized the rules for getting an absentee ballot. The law is here (final form signed by governor). Search for Section 59.

at some point in time we are going to have to address the issue that illegitimately cast votes are as wrong as denied legitimate ones.

Seems like we ought to be willing to believe that voting deserves at least the same protections as buying beer.
I read the first 2 and the last part so far. From what I have read so far, it makes sense and I agree with it. The largest area open for voter fraud is absentee, yet the bill liberalizes that, but requires stricter requirements for voting at the polls where they have never had a problem. So far, I agree with the decision.
Well Tommy, this is a genuine difficulty. You don't want to screen out legitimate votes and you don't want to allow election fraud. I'm sorry to say that GA is hardly immune from corruption (and it could be either party). All politics is local, and it depends on who is in control. Some of the worst incidents have to do with sheriff's elections.

Dingo, I'm going to have to read the whole thing. I've only worked my way through two sections, but I was surprised to find some odd arguments from Cathy Cox.

The first discrepancy is that in GA the DMV is open from Tuesday through Saturday, so no one needs to lose wages when applying for an ID. The second is that the photo ids are available for free. There isn't even an income requirement - you just make out an affidavit that you are indigent and then they don't charge. It's up to your conscience only.

So I need to read the whole thing. The absentee ballot issue is complicated. If there is fraud related to a provisional ballot or an absentee ballot the ballot can be pulled out, but if someone else walks in and votes in your name that can't be done, so you lose your vote. Right now there is no way to detect impersonation at the polls, but there is for absentee ballots.

To one extent the law tightened down the absentee ballot voting, and that was for new registratee voting by absentee the very first time. That was in response to incidents of voter fraud.

But I don't know what I think right now. My guess is that there is not going to be an easy answer.

One of the good things that GA is doing is allowing early voting. The decision makes a big issue about having to go to the DMV, but honestly it's harder for a lot of working people to get to the polls on a busy election day, and that's one reason that they opened up absentee balloting and are trying to set up early voting.
I am not necessarily opposed to showing ID at the polls. But, I also think that if you can provide a birth cirtificate and a social security card or some other combination, that should take care of things. As the Despondants said. they have not had any issues with a person trying to impersonate another person. My grandmother has no photo ID and lives far out in the country. She could get a photo ID, but it would be difficult (and she refuses to have her picture taken also which is a whole nother issue).

But the bill as written doesn't seem to actually do anything to stop the biggest hot spot for potential voter fraud, which is absentee balloting.
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