U.S. Eleventh Circuit - The FindLaw 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Exact Match Voter-ID Law in Georgia Tossed by Federal Judge

By the time voters exit the polls in Georgia, the "exact match" and the shooting match will be over.

They will have chosen a new governor, and the decision in Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda v. Kemp won't matter. A judge had ruled the state's "exact match" voter identification requirement was an undue burden on voters.

It could have been an issue in the race for governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Secretary of State Brian Kemp. As politics would have it, Kemp was also the defendant in the case.

"Exact Match"

The law required voter registration information to match information of the state's Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration. If it didn't, the registration application was marked "pending" until applicants gave accurate information to the Secretary of State.

Judge Eleanor Ross said the "exact match" requirement would cause voters "irreparable harm" if they lost their chance to vote. She said those individuals could vote by proving their citizenship at the polls.

"To be clear, once an individual's citizenship has been verified by a deputy registrar or a poll manager, that individual may cast a regular ballot and the vote counts," Ross said.

Proof of citizenship includes birth certificate, naturalization certificate, a U.S. passport, or, the judge said, "other documents or affidavits explicitly identified by Georgia law and listed on the Georgia Secretary of State's website, at polling places on Election Day."

Vote for Democrats

Civil rights advocates praised the court ruling. They said the law targeted immigrants and minorities, including about 3,000 who were expected to vote for Democrats.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg of the sort of obstacles that are being placed in front of voters -- disproportionately minority voters," said Kristen Clark for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

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