Georgia voter ID law challenge sent back to lower court

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] on Thursday instructed a lower court to reconsider a challenge to Georgia's controversial voter ID law [PDF text] that required voters to show government-issued photo identification before casting their ballots, but left in place an injunction [PDF text; JURIST report] barring the law's enforcement. The three-judge panel instructed the lower court to reconsider the case in light of a new version of the law [SB 84 text, PDF], passed [JURIST report] by the Georgia state legislature [official website] last month.

Last October, the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia granted the injunction, finding that there was a substantial likelihood that the plaintiffs would succeed on their claims that the voter ID law functions like a poll tax, and goes beyond what is necessary to prevent voter fraud. In response, Georgia lawmakers passed a revised version of the bill which provides free photo IDs to anyone requiring them, waiving the normal $35 fee. Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue [official website] signed the bill, but it will not take effect until it has been approved by the US Department of Justice, as is required under the 1965 Voting Rights Act [DOJ backgrounder] for all changes in voting requirements in states with a history of suppressing minority votes. AP has more.

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