Friday, November 18, 2005

Sometimes It Really *Is* A Poll Tax

There has been some discussion recently about the change to the Georgia Voter ID requirements. With some commentators likening the need to have one of 6 forms of photographic identification (the acceptable list used to have 17 choices. Those who do not have a current driver’s license are required to obtain a special “Voter ID card,” at a cost of $20 and would be valid for 5 years (a $35 fee nets a card valid for 10 years). The legislature effecting the change was passed in March of 2005.

This “Voter ID card” can be obtained at a Georgia Department of Driver’s Services (DDS) -- (formerly known as the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles).

However, the card can only be obtained in DDS offices in 59 of Georgia’s 159 counties.

The State of Georgia is under extra scrutiny because section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires 9 States, including Georgia, to submit any change to their voting procedures, or voting identification requirements to the federal government for review to determine if these changes will affect any minority group’s voting eligibility. The Department of Justice can either halt the changes by issuing an “objection” or can issue a “pre-clearance letter” to allow the changes to proceed.

In August, a team of 5 analysts at the Justice Department’s Civil Right’s division issued a memo with 4 of the 5 recommending that the proposed changes to the voter identification process be blocked by an “objection.” The next day, the chief of the DOJ Voting Rights section sent a letter to the responsible Georgia officials that their changes could go through, and that “The Attorney General does not interpose any objection to the specified changes.”....

See full text Under The Fold

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