Justice Department again rejects Georgia voter verification system; court fight over citizenship proof looms

For the second time, the U.S. Justice Department has rejected Georgia’s system of identifying voters who might not be U.S. citizens.

In a letter to Attorney General Thurbert Baker in May, the Justice Department said the state’s voter verification program is frequently inaccurate and has a “discriminatory effect” on minority voters.

“[A second] review indicates that the state has not provided any additional information or arguments related to the original voter registration verification program to which an objection was interposed, to support its request that the objection to the original program should be withdrawn,” writes Thomas E. Perez, assistant U.S. attorney general of the Justice Department’s civil rights division.

Read the Feb. 22 letter here.

But here’s the real news: Last year, the Legislature passed – and the governor signed – S.B. 86, which requires new Georgia voters to provide proof of citizenship at the time of registration.

In the above letter, the Justice Department reminds Secretary of State Brian Kemp that the legislation needs to be cleared, and it has an effective date of Jan. 1, 2010.

Kemp spokesman Matt Carrothers said the law has not been enforced, since – under the rules of the Voting Rights Act – it can’t go into effect without Justice Department approval.

Or a federal court fight.

Carrothers said the secretary of state was waiting for the Justice Department decision on voter verification. With that decision in, Kemp has decided to take the voter verification issue to court.

“The state of Georgia will no longer watch the Obama Justice Department play politics with our election processes and protections,” Kemp said in a press release issued this afternoon.

But Kemp has also decided not to bother asking for Justice Department approval of S.B. 86. From the press release:

“Given the DOJ’s actions with respect to Georgia’s implementation of the voter verification process, Secretary Kemp will ask Attorney General Thurbert Baker to bring a similar declaratory judgment action for preclearance of Senate Bill 86, signed into law in May 2009.

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28 comments Add your comment

Brian Kemp puts his party first

February 23rd, 2010
6:02 pm

If you have a funny sounding last name, you better look out. You could wind up on Brian Kemp’s list and you won’t be able to vote. He’s betting that if you have a funny sounding last name, or a name that ends with a vowel then you won’t be voting for him.


February 23rd, 2010
6:12 pm

The Republican Party in Georgia is nothing but the redneck segregation crowd with suit and tie rather than a hood and confederate flag. We haven’t made much progress since Carl Sanders, with the exception of Roy Barnes removing the confederate flag as the state symbol. Kemp ought to stay a temp employee.

Georgia voter

February 23rd, 2010
6:12 pm

Brian Kemp is doing what he took an oath to do: faithfully execute the laws of the state of Georgia and the United States. The state has a law requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration but it can’t be enforced until the federal govt says so. He’s trying to get the say so. The United States has a law that says that voters’ identities must be verified – part of the Help America Vote Act (passed in the wake of cries that AL Gore was robbed of the presidency). However, the DOJ says Georgia can’t implement that law until the federal government says so. Brian Kemp is trying the get the say so. The laws seem reasonable to me and Kemp’s role isn’t optional – he’s required to execute the laws of Georgia and the US.

Georgia Voter (if I'm not on Brian Kemp's list)

February 23rd, 2010
6:24 pm

Unfortunately, our state has some history with leaders trying to suppress the votes of minorities. Each of those “leaders” thought they were following their oath too and they were very wrong. We need to encourage all of our citizens to vote. We should not keep our citizens from the polls as he does with his faulty lists.

Clearly this idea that foreigners are committing voter fraud all over the place is a disguise to keep non-Republicans from the polls. Brian Kemp might be new to the scene, but he reminds me more of Lester Maddox and George Wallace. He could put a stop this if he wanted to but it’s not in his political interest.

Change in Georgia

February 23rd, 2010
6:41 pm

the republicans are up to another dirty trick watch out for kemp


February 23rd, 2010
6:48 pm

Isn’t it time for the State of Georgia to assert our rights as a State? There is NO US Constitutional right to vote, so we as a state need to tell the US DOJ to eff off. And @WAW…Just FYI, You allude to Klan Hoods…..Are you aware that the Klan was the militant wing of the democrat party?
AND that there was more slavery under the US Flag than there was under the Confederate flag?
Educate yourself before you start spewing vile about things of which you obviously are not educated.


February 23rd, 2010
6:59 pm

shawn, the klan is not part of the democratic party…..repubs and dems seemed to have flipped flopped over time…..and probably at least half georgia repubs were democrats not long ago……any serious person would agree the klan is far right.


February 23rd, 2010
7:40 pm

the klan is not specific to any party. Many old timers are dems and will put the sheet on just as often.
I don’t understand how people can be against this. Are you really for anybody voting as often as they wish?


February 23rd, 2010
8:03 pm

You mean we have money for a lawsuit but not for the state?

Let me get this right

February 23rd, 2010
8:07 pm

The federal department of justice is not allowing Georgia to comply with a federal law… and because we don’t have money we should just let that slide…Also we don’t have any money but we allow the georgia generally assembly gather to do what ever it is they do. Funny how we pick and choose what we have enough money for.


February 23rd, 2010
8:16 pm

This has nothing what so ever to do with what your name sounds like….

It is all about making sure that CITIZENS of our OWN NATION are the ones actually voting ==you know making the choices for our governership, laws, regulations, etc…== nothing more, nothing less.

IF you want to have illegal aliens calling the shots-Mexico, Canada, etc….just a plane ride away, bus trip, boat trip….

a real voter

February 23rd, 2010
9:26 pm

I won’t accept any state determining my national citizenship. The feds do that, for every state…at least the ones that had fair elections and didn’t screw the pooch with some moronic white guy swingin axe handles.
No Georgia….you are not qualified to validate US citizenship. stick with proof of residency- the utility bill, the bank statement….leave the real validation to smart people.
How many cases of voter fraud actually went to court and got convictions in Goergia? Compared to how many votes cast? 5, 10? out of 15Million votes cast?
Where did you see this UFO?

Ken in Eastman

February 23rd, 2010
9:37 pm

Residency is not citizenship.

I notice all of the people who are attacking this state (and Brian Kemp) can’t do so on the merits of their arguments. They can only call names, make baseless accusations, attempt to libel people with no proof and generally make fools of themselves. You folks should be glad that an IQ test isn’t required.


February 23rd, 2010
10:39 pm

Eh, Ken, I can be sure that Karen Handel’s multiple-database cross-check turned up a lot of false positives, that’s for sure. That’s why they keep kicking it out. It sucks. It’s fine that new voters have to prove citizenship. But neither Handel nor Kemp have figured out a decent way to do it without screwing up the paperwork of people who move more than once every ten years, so the onus is on them to get it right.

Frankly, one wishes for the simplicity of the Iraq election, where you dipped your finger in ink when you were done voting. If there was an “IQ test,” as you say, the government would just screw it up anyway.

Brian Kemp is simply wrong

February 23rd, 2010
11:06 pm

These black lists that Kemp is maintaining are filled with errors. There are people on these lists who are citizens and fully qualified to vote, some are even veterans! My family did not fight and die in our wars so that some state government appointee could keep our citizens from voting. It’s wrong and unAmerican! Ken from Eastman, you should thank a veteren the next time you see one instead of trying to stop him from voting.


February 24th, 2010
12:30 am

Only US citizens should be voting! Why would the Obama administration prevent Georgia from verifying the citizenship of US voters?


February 24th, 2010
12:59 am

“The state of Georgia will no longer watch the Obama Justice Department play politics with our election processes and protections,”

He apparently fails to realize that it was the Bush Justice Department that rejected it the first time around.


February 24th, 2010
6:28 am

I get frustrated when there is such obvious playing of politics here — why did he have to say “Obama Justice Department” rather than just the Justice Department?

Since it was brought up:
First Confederate National Flag: http://www.riograndesutlery.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/13STAR1STNATIONAL.JPG
Georgia Flag: http://westernreserveflagco.com/zencart/images/Georgia.gif


February 24th, 2010
9:02 am

Too bad Kemp is dumb as a block. He won’t be able to accomplish a thing here.

Port O' John

February 24th, 2010
9:11 am

Let’s keep Georgia a red state by keeping them pesky minorities and people with funny sounding spanglish names from votin’.

We white folks stole this land from the Cherokee fair and square (and killed a passel of them to boot) thus its only fair that white folks get to decide who get’s to vote and who don’t.

Dern fed guvmint ruints everything.

Army Brat

February 24th, 2010
9:28 am

The owness is on our Secretary of State to prove that the process they are using will work. Prove that it won’t discriminate is all the justice department is asking.

GA Voter

February 24th, 2010
10:26 am

What a shame on Kemp and Karen Handle who was Secretary of State for seeing fit to try again to suppress and intimidate eligible voters from exercising their constitutional right to vote by creating multiple hurdles that aims to control the current voting pool at the determent of all it’s citizens, women, low income folks, and especially the minority vote. If you were a woman and got a name change by marriage, the system will flagged you so you can’t register to vote, if you where born outside of the country and didn’t have a birth certificate, you get nothing, if you really want to vote then you have to cough up $100 to get a passport, essentially a poll tax to vote. Low income people get toss in the trash so these rednecks can control the voting pool and the only people left to conveniently vote are white rich men who will vote for them.

There is virtually no evidence that non-citizens are even trying to vote illegally.
People already have to take a legal oath of citizenship under federal penalty that protects the system. Undocumented immigrants are doing their best to be hidden from authorities, they are not trying to vote for anybody. Thank God for the Department of Justice for seeing through the BS these people are trying to pull off for political gain so they can say “I’m tough on illegal immigration” when they are actually tough against Legal GA Residents Voting!

Ken in Eastman

February 24th, 2010
12:17 pm

Brian Kemp is simply wrong,

Get your facts straight. No one is prevented from voting. The vote is cast as provisional and when the situation is resolved then the vote is counted. Of course you knew that already so why did you bring it up? What’s your real agenda?

If, on the other hand, there is no voter ID then people will vote in multiple precincts under multiple names. It happens and so people who buy votes steal elections and you just don’t care. Why is that?

I live in a county that was home to the largest federal voter fraud conspiracy in this nation’s history – HUNDREDS of sworn affidavits were presented that confessed the selling of votes. That was only 14 years ago, so yes it does happen. And, guess what? No surprise but the fraud was all in the Democrat primary. Dems and voter fraud go together like grits and eggs.I wonder if that’s your agenda and why you’re against voter ID.

Will this prevent voter fraud 100%? No. Will it eliminate some of it? Absolutely. Who will suffer for it? Crooked politicians and their money men.

Ken in Eastman

February 24th, 2010
12:20 pm

GA Voter,

“There is virtually no evidence that non-citizens are even trying to vote illegally.”

Why do you think it’s all about illegal aliens voting? The real problem is people voting multiple times at multiple precincts. One person, one vote.


February 25th, 2010
10:18 am

The matching process is a color blind systematic process that compares your name, DOB and SSN at registration to Driver’s Services and the Social Security Administration – Required by Federal Law..

A non match has nothing to do with how your name sounds like unless you are too stupid to spell your name correctly two times.


February 25th, 2010
10:20 am

GA Voter

Check your facts or go to a State Election Board meeting illegal aliens voting are prosecuted on a monthly basis…


February 27th, 2010
2:19 pm

If Brian Kemp doesn’t want people with “funny sounding last names to vote” or people with “a name that ends in a vowel” then I guess his wife, Marty ArgO Kemp, won’t be able to vote.

Before you make stupid comments you should think about the bottom line- voting is an act guaranteed by the constitution to allow CITIZENS of the United States to carry out their democratic right. There should be no problem with trying to obtain information on someone’s citizenry.

Agnes Cowan

May 28th, 2010
3:35 am

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