The Georgia Supreme Court made the right decision on Monday when they dismissed a case challenging Georgia’s Voter Identification law that the members of the Georgia legislature passed in 2005. The Court ruled that the defendant did not have the legal standing against the law since she would have been able to vote under the new law.
Georgia’s requirement for presentation of photo identification before voting is a common sense mandate as intended. It is race and age neutral and it mitigates the concerns made by those who don’t like the law by providing free photo identification cards to any Georgia citizen. We have met all of the concerns expressed by opponents of the legislation and it is time to begin using photo ID cards during voting to protect that solemn right we were given by our forefathers by the U.S. Constitution.
The integrity of the voting process is important to Georgians and all responsible American citizens. When Sen. Cecil Staton of Macon introduced the legislation in 2005, he wanted to strengthen Georgia’s identification law that has been in effect for a decade. Sen. Staton worked with the Georgia Department of Law and Attorney General Thurbert Baker to abide by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). In addition, the law was pre-cleared by the United States Department of Justice because the new law does not disenfranchise Georgia’s voters, nor does it violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
There was initially some concern that the ID cards cost money and that in some areas they were difficult to obtain, so we amended the law in 2006 to address both of those issues. Now, every Georgia citizen can obtain a state-issued ID card — free of charge at any county board of election office or at one of more than 50 Department of Driver’s Services offices across the state.
Under the 1997 law, anyone can walk into a voter precinct and present themselves as anyone they want to, provided they have an electric bill, phone bill or social security card. We all know that identity theft is rampant in this day and age, as people have become quite adept at stealing documents from mailboxes or out of trash containers. Over a 25-year period, more than 5,400 dead people have voted in Georgia elections. This clearly is a case of voter fraud and these voter identification cards will prohibit dead people from ever casting another vote.
Over the past few years, the Georgia General Assembly has worked hard on your behalf to address every concern the courts have raised. Sen. Staton and I want to ensure the integrity of the election process and make sure that the doctrine of one person, one vote isn’t abused. Many men and women have fought and died in this country for our right to vote and we want to make sure that all votes are cast by those who are legally eligible to vote.
Sen. Tommie Williams is the Senate Majority Leader. He represents the 19th Senate District, which includes Appling, Jeff Davis, Liberty, Long, Montgomery, Tattnall, Toombs, Wayne and Wheeler counties.