Since our last report on the Voter ID Law, the new version of the law has made it out of the General Assembly and was signed into law by Governor Sonny Perdue.
This is a big victory for the Democrats in Georgia. They took on the majority party, the General Assembly, and the Governor himself and they won a partial victory. Rather than endure another round of losses in federal court, the GOP blinked. They took their law into the woodshed, tuned it up, put a new coat of paint on it, and came out with a better law. We’re not happy that it’s still on the books, but it’s better.
Democrats should congratulate themselves on this one. For about five minutes, and then it’s time to get back to work.
Face it folks. Whether the law is well-intentioned or not (and we imagine you know how we feel about that), this thing has stank to high heaven from day one. Let’s review the stinkiness.
- When the law was introduced, one of its primary champions was Senator Bill Stephens, who himself has been fined for ethics violations.
- Another outspoken proponent of the bill, Rep. Sue Burmeister was quoted in a U.S. Department of Justice internal memo as saying that black people in her district only voted if you paid them.
- Legitimate concerns about the oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice have been raised, in this blog and elsewhere, following revelations in The Washington Post that the original Voter ID law was rejected by career civil rights lawyers at DOJ. Their recommendation was overruled by the Republican political appointees that have final approval.
Related: The Washington Post: “Politics alleged in voting cases” 01/23/06
The Washington Post: “Criticism of voting law was overruled” 11/17/05
AthPo: “Voter ID Law – Political influence at the Department of Justice?” 01/23/06
AthPo: “More on the voter id bill” 11/17/05
Athens Banner-Herald: “Governor approves voter id legislation” 01/27/06