A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

DOJ downplays Georgia voter ID law memo on harm to black voters

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice [official website] has downplayed the conclusions of a 51-page memo [DOJ document] indicating that a Georgia voter identification law [PDF text] will harm black voters, saying the information was based on old data and followed a faulty analysis. Earlier this year, the Georgia state legislature passed a plan that requires all voters to have photo IDs, with many black lawmakers and Democrats opposing the measure. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 [DOJ backgrounder] mandates Georgia and other states with a history of discriminatory elections to submit changes in voting plans to the DOJ. After a review, senior Justice officials determined that the Georgia plan could proceed [JURIST report], but it has been blocked by federal courts [JURIST report] on constitutional grounds since then. The memo indicating harm to black voters was submitted by four or five members of a DOJ legal review team [JURIST report] one day before the Justice Department made its decision to allow the Georgia voting plan. A spokesman for the Justice Department said that the memo "was an early draft that did not include data and analysis from other voting section career attorneys who recognized the absence of a retrogressive effect." Friday's Washington Post has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.