Judge Tosses Georgia’s ‘Exact Match’ Voter ID Rule for Midterm

Courthouse News Service

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.”

Danielle Lang, senior legal counsel, voting rights and redistricting at Campaign Legal Center, agreed, saying it was especially gratifying that Judge Ross is requiring the state “to take steps to educate registrars and poll managers on how to properly verify voter eligibility.” “Today’s ruling protects the right to vote of eligible voters who have been incorrectly accused of being non-citizens by Georgia election officials,” said Phyllis Blake, President of the Georgia State Conference of the NAACP.

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