Georgia Voter ID law will be in effect for primary

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The state Election Board said Thursday that Georgia's new voter ID law will be in effect for the July 18 primary, now less than three weeks away.

The board said elections officials can begin issuing free photo identification cards to voters who need them.

A pair of legal challenges to the law are pending, one in federal court and the other in state court. Arguments in the state court challenge, filed by former Democratic Governor Roy Barnes, are scheduled for July 3.

The Republican-backed law was first passed in 2005, but a federal judge blocked enforcement, saying it amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax. The state Legislature amended the law early this year to make photo ID's free to anyone who needs them in all 159 counties.

The law mandates that voters present a government-issued photo ID in order to cast a ballot.

Supporters of the law say it is needed to prevent fraud. Critics say it disenfranchises poor, elderly and minority voters who are less likely to have a driver's license or other forms of photo ID.

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