The Associated Press
ATLANTA —; The U.S. Justice Department gave its approval today to a Georgia law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls.
But it is unclear whether legal challenges surrounding the voter ID law will be resolved in time for elections later this year. A federal judge had ruled that an earlier version of the Georgia law was unconstitutional.
Supporters —; including Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, who signed the measure —; say it is needed to crack down on voter fraud.
Opponents say it unfairly discriminates against minorities, the poor and the elderly, who are less likely to have a driver’s license.
Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, said it’s only logical to require a photo ID to prove someone is who they say they are when they go to vote.
“I think it goes along with mainstream Georgia and America,” he said. “People want voter fraud out of the voting process.”
The law makes Georgia one of seven states to require a voter to show a government-issued photo identification before casting a ballot.
Under the federal Voting Rights Act, Georgia and other states with a history of racial discrimination must receive “pre-clearance” from the federal government for changes in their elections procedures.
Georgia's voter ID measure first passed in 2005 amid a fierce debate that ignited racial tensions.
See tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press for full coverage.