A federal judge ruled Friday that Georgia’s “exact match” requirement for voter identification “places a severe burden” on prospective voters and will not apply for next Tuesday’s midterm election. The “exact match” law applied by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who also happens to running for governor in a tight race against Democrat Stacey Abrams, marks an applicant’s registration as “pending” if the personal information on their voter registration form doesn’t exactly match the information on the state’s Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration. If marked pending, the applicant has 26 months to provide the accurate information to the secretary of state’s office. In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross said if allowed to stand, the state’s “exact match” requirement would cause some to “suffer irreparable harm if they lose the right to vote.”
Ross directed Kemp’s office to allow county election officials to permit individuals flagged and placed in pending status due to citizenship to vote a regular ballot by furnishing proof of citizenship to poll managers or deputy registrars.
“To be clear, once an individual’s citizenship has been verified by a deputy registrar or a poll manager, that individual may cast a regular ballot and the vote counts,” Ross said.