[JURIST] Civil rights, religious and community groups have asked the US Department of Justice [official website] to block a law that would require voters in Georgia to show photo identification before they could cast their ballots. The bill [PDF text; bill summary] was passed by the Georgia state legislature [official website] and approved by Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue [official website] in January, but under the federal Voting Rights Act [DOJ backgrounder], states with a past history of discrimination must have federal approval before making changes to their election laws. Perdue and other Republicans contend that the bill will lessen voter fraud, but Democrats argue that it will prevent blacks and members of the poor and elderly communities from voting since they are less likely to carry drivers licenses.
A previous version of the law was blocked by a federal judge [JURIST report] last year, and the revised bill offers to issue free photo IDs to voters who need them. If approved, Georgia would be the seventh state to have such a photo identification law for voters. However, even if the Justice Department allows the bill to move forward, it could be blocked by a federal judge again. AP has more.