Written by Meaghan Bitters Asst. Advertising Manager
Georgia is one of nine states with strict voter laws that require photo ID.
Georgia’s voter ID law enforces strict photo ID at the polling place. If the voter doesn’t have the required ID, he or she has to vote on a provisional ballot, and the voter has three days to return and show proper ID for the vote to count.
Accepted photo ID includes one of the following: Georgia’s driver’s license, even if expired; ID card issued by the state or federal government; free voter ID card issued by the state or county; US passport; valid employee ID card containing a photo from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the US government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state; valid US military ID card; or valid tribal photo ID (nasal.org).
The law is considered strict, because the state requires the voter to show photo ID and if they don’t have it they must vote on a provisional ballot and take additional steps after the election to present acceptable ID; however, almost everyone has a photo ID of some form, so this law isn’t really as strict as the title leads it on to be.
Also, the voter ID card issued by the state or county, depending on where you live, is free. So, if you have a birth certificate, which you most likely do unless you weren’t born in a hospital, all you have to do is go to your local registers office’s website and fill out a form which takes about two minutes. Then wait a couple of weeks for your free voter ID to come in the mail.
As of 2016, 33 states have laws requesting or requiring some form of ID at the polls (ncsl.org).
The other 17 states use things such as signatures to verify voter identification.
It has to be easier to look to see if the voter’s photo ID information matches the information of their voter ID card, than it would be to match their signature on their ballot to other documents.
Also, forging a signature would be a lot easier than forging a photo ID and a voter ID.
Most states with strict voter ID requirements makes exceptions for people who: have religious objections to being photographed, are indigent, have a reasonable impediment, do not have a photo ID as a result of a recent natural disaster, and people who are victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking and have a confidential listing (ncsl.org).
Georgia, unfortunately, has no exceptions.
More strict laws are enforced for the purpose of preventing voter impersonation and to increase public confidence in the election process (ncsl.org).
Considering you can obtain a voter ID card for free and a five year Georgia ID card for $20, the strict voter ID law only makes the voting process easier for elections administrators and isn’t an extreme cost burden for voters.
Additionally, voter ID laws generally apply to in-person voting, rather than absentee ballots or mailed ballots (ncsl.org).
Written by Carlius Williams, Staff Writer
Being forced to get a Voter ID limits the votes and access that people with lower income have to the voting process. Take a look at all the votes being thrown out in New York; would this process resolve issues like thousands of votes being thrown out? A report from the Huffington Post suggests that eight out of the 16 states that have held primaries have strict voting laws since 2010.
Democratic turnout was 285 percent worse in state with new voter ID laws. The same post shows that voting restrictions are the reason that Democratic turnout has dropped 37 percent in those eight states with the laws intact but only thirteen percent in the states without new voter restrictions. The new voter ID laws and registrations could possibly pose a threat to the Constitution. Democratic support was down 50 percent in Texas in 2008 and support for the Republican Party rose 180 percent. Could these numbers support the majorities who have taken the proper steps to gain voter ID rights or are people with less opportunity or money not being included?
With these new laws, voting turnouts only show that certain people are shown to vote. A study by the University of California, San Diego, showed a change in minority votes before and after strict voter ID laws. Democratic and Republican turnout dropped by an average of six percent. It is easier to apply to carry a gun than vote in certain states. Once people go to vote and see the new changes, many of whom have not voted since 2008, they will certainly be confused.
Voter suppression is a real thing in 2016. It is becoming a rich man’s game to win states by contributions. There are certain states where school ID’s are not even accepted. Voting laws are changing the way voters vote and even seem to be one-sided.