Ga. moves forward with second lawsuit against feds

ATLANTA – The state of Georgia is moving forward with a second lawsuit against the federal government.

Gov. Sonny Perdue has named Anne W. Lewis as a special attorney general and Frank B. Strickland and Bryan P. Tyson as deputy special attorneys general in a quest to obtain federal court approval of two election procedures – the state’s voter verification process and SB 86.

The state’s voter verification process requires that first-time, would-be voters confirm they are in fact U.S. citizens, officials say. The feds in February “denied administrative preclearance of the State’s voter verification process, contending that a decision could not be made without additional information,” according to a news release from Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who noted “all of the additional information sought by the DOJ had been provided previously, some of it on numerous occasions throughout the last year.”

Under SB 86, which the state legislature approved this year, anyone registering to vote to submit proof of United States citizenship with their application. The proof could include a driver’s license number, U.S. passport or a number of other documents.

“Fair and free elections form the foundation of our state and country. Unfortunately, Georgia remains the only state in the country barred from complying with the federal Help America Vote Act’s voter verification process,” Kemp said in a news release. “I am proud that we are taking this step to protect the integrity, security and fairness of Georgia’s elections.”

Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, states with a “history of racial discrimination,” including Georgia, must receive approval from the Justice Department before making such election changes.

Earlier this week, the state officially joined 19 other states in challenging a controversial health care bill Congress passed in March. The challengers claim the new law “infringes upon the constitutional rights of Floridians and residents of the other states by mandating all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage or pay a tax penalty.”

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