Federal judge blocks Georgia ‘exact match’ voter ID law

A federal judge ruled Friday that the “exact match” requirement for voter identification in Georgia will not apply to Tuesday’s midterm election as it “places a severe burden” on prospective votes.

US District Court Judge Eleanor Ross for the Northern District of Georgia imposed the emergency injunction to this specific issue, arising from a lawsuit regarding Georgia’s “exact match” process, which requires identification information on voter registration to match precisely what is listed within the Georgia Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration.

According to the order, the “exact match” rule could affect approximately 51,111 individuals who have been flagged by the State of Georgia as “ineligible to vote due to alleged errors with their voter registration information.” For about 3,100 of these 51,111, the reason is due to a citizenship status question, and they specifically are the target of the injunction.

Ross held Friday that those who have been flagged due to this citizenship question will still be permitted to cast a ballot by furnishing proof of citizenship such as a passport or birth certificate to poll managers or deputy registrars, and upon doing so may cast a regular ballot and a counted vote.

“These individuals will suffer irreparable harm if they lose the right to vote, [and] this harm outweighs any harm to Defendant, and granting an injunction is in the public’s interest.”

Last week, a Georgia judge also blocked enforcement of a “signature match” voting law on procedural due process grounds.

The signature match and “exact match law” have both generated controversy as Georgia’s Secretary of State Robert Kemp is also running as the Republican Party nominee for Georgia’s governorship. The enforcement of the laws are seen as a way to lower turnout for democratic candidate Stacey Abrams and favor the secretary of state.