This week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling partly blocks Georgia from enforcing a law requiring would-be voters to prove U.S. citizenship, Secretary of State Brian Kemp said Wednesday. In a 7-2 decision Monday, the court ruled a similar statute in Arizona is pre-empted by federal law. Passed in 2009, Georgia’s law requires voter registration applicants to provide proof of U.S. citizenship, such as copies of passports or birth certificates. Kemp, however, said Georgia has never been able to enforce that statute because it has not been given access to a federal immigration database it could use to confirm the U.S. citizenship of those seeking to vote. He said he is now considering asking the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to add new instructions on federal voter registration forms so Georgia can require proof of U.S. citizenship. In its ruling, the court indicated that is a possible pathway forward for Arizona. “We will put all options on the table — whether we need to talk to the governor or Legislature or the Attorney General’s Office,” Kemp said.
Gov. Nathan Deal’s office referred questions about the ruling to Attorney General Sam Olens on Monday. On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Olens said his office was still reviewing the court’s ruling.
Supporters of Georgia’s and Arizona’s laws said the statutes would help block noncitizens from registering to vote and casting ballots in those states.
A spokesman for Kemp said the state comes across at least a dozen such cases each year. Critics said these laws are aimed at suppressing minority voters.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court said Arizona’s statute conflicts with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 — also known as the Motor Voter Act — which requires states to accept and use a certain federal form for registration. That federal form asks applicants to check a box confirming whether they are U.S. citizens.
Full Article: Georgia voter I.D. law blocked | www.ajc.com.