Feds green light state’s proof of citizenship law

Brian Kemp

ATLANTA – The Justice Department on Monday gave the green light to the state’s requirement that voters show proof of citizenship before registering to vote.

Act 143 or Senate Bill 86, the state’s voter verification process requires that first-time, would-be voters confirm they are in fact U.S. citizens – the proof could include a driver’s license number, U.S. passport or a number of other documents. The Justice Department has previously disallowed the checks.

“This law is a common sense enhancement to our voter registration process that will prevent non-citizens from voting in Georgia’s elections,” Secretary of State Brian Kemp said in a news release. “Every ballot cast by a non-citizen erases a ballot cast by an eligible Georgia voter. The voter roll protections in Act 143, our photo ID requirement for in-person voting, and our triple-signature verification procedure for mail-in ballots make Georgia a national model for election security and integrity.”

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. The state last year filed suit against the federal government over the matter.

“I am grateful that the Justice Department has relented to the lawsuit the state had filed regarding Senate Bill 86 and given pre-clearance to this common sense piece of legislation that I authored requiring proof of citizenship when registering to vote in Georgia,” state Sen. Cecil Staton, R- Macon, said in a statement. “This taken with our photo identification requirement gives Georgia some of the best laws in the country for protecting the integrity of the voting process.”

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