Who Really Won?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Georgia Out Of Mind

Georgia's July 18 primary elections are less than a month away and still the state's voter ID cards haven't been issued.

The state Board of Elections on Monday is expected to approve final rules governing the state's new photo voter IDs. The rules must still be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice but state Elections Board Chairman Tex McIver said that will be little more than a formality and could come as soon as Monday afternoon. The Justice Department has already approved the state's new voter ID law.

McIver said that barring intervention by the courts, officials could probably begin issuing the voter ID cards by the end of the month.

"I think we are going to be ready for the primary," McIver said. "It's just down to a ministerial function now."

The rules the board will consider Monday involve who gets the photo ID cards, what hours the issuing sites must be open, and what documents can be used to obtain the cards.

Only voters without a driver's license, passport or other valid government-issued photo ID will need the new ID cards.

The wild card is whether the courts will step in. Emmet Bondurant, the lawyer for the a coalition of groups who oppose Georgia's voter ID law, has said he will ask U.S. District Court Judge Harold Murphy for an injunction once federal officials sign off.

Last year, Murphy blocked enforcement of Georgia's first voter ID law, saying it amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax. He also raised questions about whether the IDs would be readily available in remote parts of the state. The law makes Georgia one of just seven states to require that voters show a photo ID to vote.