On April 21, 2006, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) approved a Georgia law that required voters to present a valid photo ID when they vote. Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue initially approved the bill in January after its passage by the state legislature. Under the federal Voting Rights Act, states with a past history of discrimination must have federal approval before making changes to state election laws. Civil rights, religious and community groups asked the DOJ to block implementation of the law, arguing that it disproportionately discriminated against the poor, elderly and minorities, who may have trouble securing the proper identification. The revised version of the law offers free photo IDs to voters who need them, after a federal judge blocked a previous version of the law the year before.
Learn more about voting rights from the JURIST news archive.