Tue., November 16, 2010 3:26pm (EST)

NAACP: Check Could Discourage Minority Voters
By Melissa Stiers
Updated: 4 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
The proposed requirement is modeled after Arizona law, but Georgia's law accepts more documents as proof of citizenship than Arizona's which was struck down in court this year. (photo by Melissa Stiers)
The proposed requirement is modeled after Arizona law, but Georgia's law accepts more documents as proof of citizenship than Arizona's which was struck down in court this year. (photo by Melissa Stiers)
The state is trying to get federal approval for a new voter verification check, but some group are concerned how it will affect minority voters.

Georgia’s secretary of state says making people show they're citizens when they register will stream-line the process. But the president of the Atlanta branch of the NAACP, R. L. White, says it puts an undue burden on people trying to vote.

"It seems to want to strengthen an already repressive law and I think maybe the intent is to discourage minorities from voting," says White.

Under the Voting Rights Act, Georgia must get federal approval for new voter verification checks to ensure they’re not discriminatory. The proposed requirement is modeled after Arizona law. Elections law expert Dan Tokaji at Ohio State University says Arizona got pre-clearance for the practice but it didn’t hold up in court when citizens sued.

"The 9th circuit shut down Arizona’s proof of citizenship requirement as a violation of federal law, namely the National Voter Registration Act," says Tokaji.

Georgia’s secretary of state office says Georgia’s law accepts more documents for people to prove their citizenship than Arizona's.