FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kelly Ceballos
February 25, 2010 202-263-1331


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE REJECTS GEORGIA'S VOTER VERIFICATION SYSTEM
League of Women Voters of Georgia and League of Women Voters of the United States Applaud the Action

Washington, DC - The League of Women Voters of Georgia and the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVGA & LWVUS) applaud the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) decision to reject the Georgia law that requires citizens to show photo identification in order to vote. The decision by DOJ reinforces the need for the State of Georgia to demonstrate that the voter registration verification program they want to institute has neither a discriminatory purpose nor a discriminatory effect. 

Georgia’s State Legislature enacted SB 86 in 2009, which was to go into effect on January 1, 2010.  Since the state is required under federal law to meet the requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, any laws or action instituted must be reviewed and approved by DOJ. 

“Voting is a fundamental right in our democracy, and we applaud the U. S. Department of Justice for working to ensure access to full participation is not restricted,” said Mary G. Wilson, president of the League of Women Voters of the U.S.  “Enforcement of the federal Voting Rights Act by DOJ will stop efforts to disenfranchise eligible voters from participating in the democratic process and protect citizens.”

“This decision shows that U.S. Department of Justice agrees that the state of Georgia has a problem with ensuring access and has jeopardized the voting rights of its citizens. The focus of Georgia’s Secretary of State should be on access and not suppression of voting,” said Tracey Nelson, Executive Director of LWVGA.

Nelson also added, “The right to vote - and to have your vote counted - is the most important civil right we have. Photo ID requirements are one of the greatest threats to fair and equal voting rights today. The government should be in the business of encouraging full participation of our citizenry, not developing ways to limit the right to vote.” 

“The League of Women Voters will continue to fight against barriers to voting and work to ensure that all citizens have fair and equal access to the polls,” concluded Nelson.

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The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.