Who Really Won?

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Jim Crow Revisits Georgia

Ever used your birth certificate or Social Security card as ID? Not good enough to vote in Georgia...

Immediately after a 7 p.m. vote that would eliminate 12 of the 17 forms of identification that may be used at Georgia polls, a majority of Senate Democrats, including all black members, left the chamber.

Republican sponsors of the bill said it was an effort to cut down on voter fraud.

"My intention was to make sure in Georgia that next election, or down the road, we don't end up with all the lawsuits or all the voter irregularities we've heard about," said Sen. Cecil Staton, R-Macon, the bill's sponsor.

The bill, which passed 32-22 along party lines, would require a photo ID to vote.

It would remove other forms of ID, including a Social Security card, birth certificate or student identification, from the list.

Democratic critics compared the effort to the poll taxes, literacy tests and other laws aimed at suppressing black votes during segregation. They said poor and minority voters are more likely to be without photo ID than other voters.

"What's happening today is just an updated form of Jim Crow," said Fort, referring to segregation-era laws that suppressed black voting. "You may be more polite about it ... but we know who's going to be disenfranchised."