Voter ID law keeps no one from polls
Cynthia Tucker's latest column on voter ID laws ("Voter ID law an ugly effort to subvert ballot," @issue, Jan. 13) once again mischaracterizes and omits numerous facts about Georgia's requirement that voters show photo identification when voting in person.
First, Tucker writes, "This is a brazen effort to block the votes of thousands of people of color who might have the temerity to vote for Democrats."
In fact, in the two elections held since U.S. Circuit Court Judge Harold Murphy's Sept. 6, 2007, ruling, there has not been one single demonstrated deprivation of any right to vote or any other violation of a constitutional right resulting from the requirement.
Tucker also fails to mention the provisional ballot process or Georgia's free voter ID card. No voter is turned away from the polls if he or she does not have one of the many acceptable forms of photo ID, and a free voter ID card is available at any county registrar or Department of Driver Services office.
Second, Tucker claims, "There has never —- never —- been a single documented case of 'voter impersonation' at the ballot box, with a fake voter using an electric bill or phone bill to pretend to be a valid voter."
On the contrary, a Nov. 6, 2000, AJC report ("Even death can't stop some voters") found that over 5,400 ballots had been cast by deceased Georgians over the 20 previous years. While those votes could have been cast in person or by absentee, clearly in-person voter fraud is virtually impossible to detect without a requirement that the voter produce photo identification.
Finally, Tucker states, "If Republicans were interested in actual voter fraud, they would have tightened the rules for absentee ballots, since that's where most voter fraud occurs."
Tucker conveniently forgets to mention that absentee ballot laws were tightened last year. Prior to 2007, the penalty for absentee ballot fraud was a misdemeanor.
My office worked with the state Legislature to increase the penalty to a felony, the same penalty as for in-person voting fraud. Gov. Sonny Perdue signed this act into law in May 2007. Additionally, the State Elections Board has levied more than $120,000 in fines in cases involving the mishandling of absentee ballots.
Georgia's voter ID law — much like Indiana's — protects every citizen's legal vote from being canceled by one cast fraudulently. It doesn't matter how many times or different ways Tucker writes it, the facts remain the same.
It's a common-sense measure supported by 80 percent of Georgians (according to this newspaper), regardless of race, political affiliation or age.