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Federal judge, state high court refuse to allow Georgia voter ID law to take effect

[JURIST] US District Judge Harold Murphy on Wednesday issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of Georgia's voter ID law [SB 84 materials; JURIST news archive] until a full trial can be held in a challenge brought by civil rights groups [JURIST report]. Murphy, the same federal judge who struck down [JURIST report] a previous version of the law last year, said that the current law seems to unconstitutionally discriminate against some voters. The current law, unlike last year's version, would provide free voter ID cards to those who need them, but civil rights groups argued that the law still unduly burdens some Georgian citizens without increasing protections against voter fraud. During a hearing Wednesday, Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox [official website] testified that 675,000 of Georgia's 4.26 million registered voters do not have the proper ID to vote [AP report]. Cox said that the law would erect another hurdle for potential voters, which could prevent some fraud, but was unsure what effect the law would have on Georgian citizens.

Also Wednesday, the Georgia Supreme Court refused [order, PDF] to overturn last week's lower state court ruling placing a temporary restraining order on the new law [JURIST report]. Earlier this week, the Georgia Attorney General filed an emergency appeal [JURIST report; pleadings] asking the court to lift the restraining order in time for the July 18 primary elections. AP has more. The Atlanta Journal Constitution has local coverage.

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