Could a recent ruling on the constitutionality of voter ID requirements affect Georgia’s law? That’s the question after a federal judge in Wisconsin earlier this week struck down a law requiring voters to show a state photo ID at polls, a policy in place in about half the U.S. states, including Georgia. In his ruling Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman said Wisconsin’s voter ID law violates the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act, adding the law disproportionately affects minority and low-income individuals. Laughlin McDonald, director emeritus of the American Civil Liberties Union Voting Rights Project, said the future implications of the Wisconsin ruling are unclear, but called it “significant.”
“It may be that the decision will end up in the U.S. Supreme Court,” McDonald said. “And if it’s affirmed, then it could very well trigger another challenge to Georgia’s photo ID law.”
In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter ID law. That helped pave the way three years later for the Georgia Supreme Court to uphold the state law.
WABE Legal Analyst Page Pate said the Wisconsin ruling sets up a precedent to challenge such laws. “You have to show, number one, there’s no evidence of voter fraud, and therefore no particular reason for this law, and number two, you have to show that it has a negative impact on voter turnout, especially in minority and disenfranchised communities,” Pate said.