That didn't take long. Just months after a big election year that saw big turnout across the South, many state legislatures in the region are moving to pass an array of laws that create new barriers to voting, mostly in the name of combating "voter fraud."
At the top of the list is Georgia -- a site of election controversy last November -- where on May 5, Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) signed a law requiring prospective voters to prove their citizenship. Since Georgia is covered by the Voting Rights Act, the bill will need to be pre-cleared by the Obama Justice Department; if it does, the law will go into effect in 2010.
The debate echoed a similar controversy that Facing South reported on last fall, where Republican Secretary of State Karen Handel "flagged" thousands of voters suspected of being non-citizens, even encouraging Georgia citizens to challenge the citizenship of fellow voters.
This time, the debate is just heated, as the AP reports:
"It's tantamount to a poll tax," said Elise Shore, regional counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She said the group was considering a legal challenge if the law clears the Justice Department.
Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, a top backer, said proof of citizenship is needed to prevent voter fraud. She expressed confidence the law could withstand a challenge, noting it was modeled after Arizona's precedent-setting law.
The difference this year is that, since Georgia is covered by the Voting Rights Act, the bill will need to be pre-cleared by the Obama Justice Department; if it does, the law will go into effect in 2010.
Bills requiring voters to show special kinds of ID at the polls -- a movement which gained steam in Georgia -- are also spreading throughout the South. A measure died in Tennessee, but just cleared a House committee in Texas. The arguments in the Lone Star state are the same they've been everywhere.I have said this along. President Obama's performance here in Georgia scared the living Hell out of the Georgia GOP & they know their days in power are numbered. The Citizenship Bill requiring voters proof that they are citizens of the U.S. is a way to suppress voters who tend to vote democratic. I hope the Justice Department rule against this law. This law is not needed at all. Older voters who do not have a birth certificate will be discouraged from voting & Black Voters will be discouraged also by this law. I didn't like the Photo I.D. Law & I don't like this one either.