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Federal judge reinstates Georgia voter ID law

[JURIST] US District Judge Harold Murphy of the Northern District of Georgia [official website] lifted a stay of the controversial Georgia voter ID law [JURIST news archive] Thursday, enabling the law to go into effect [JURIST report] during Special Elections on September 18. Murphy found that the voter ID law does not impose a significant burden on an individual's right to vote, and that preventing voter fraud serves a greater public interest. In 2005, Murphy granted an injunction [JURIST report] on enforcement of an earlier version of the law, and last year granted an injunction against enforcement of an amended version, stating that law created too much of a burden for some voters. In his latest ruling, Murphy applauded the state's effort to inform voters of the law and notify them of how to obtain free identification cards in order to vote, effectively removing much of the barrier created by the law.

In July, Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel [official profile] announced that the state will begin enforcing the voter ID law during Georgia's September 18 Special Elections, and the state filed a motion to lift the stay [press release] on enforcement of the law. In June, the Supreme Court of Georgia dismissed a challenge [JURIST report] after finding that the plaintiff lacked standing [opinion, PDF] because she had not and could not be harmed by the voter ID law. The court's decision came in the appeal of a September 2006 superior court ruling that the controversial law was not required under the Georgia constitution [text, PDF] and would disenfranchise otherwise qualified voters [JURIST report], who generally have no use for a state-issued ID. The New York Times has more. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has local coverage.

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