Secretary Handel Praises House for Passing Legislation to Protect Georgia’s Elections
Atlanta – Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel today praised the Georgia House of Representatives for passing legislation that would require voter registration applicants to provide proof of their United States citizenship.
House Bill 45, sponsored by Rep. James Mills (R-Gainesville), would require those registering to vote after January 1, 2010 to submit a copy of one of several forms of proof of U.S. citizenship with their application. These include a driver’s license, birth certificate, U.S. passport, U.S. naturalization documents or Bureau of Indian Affairs card. Any person who registered to vote prior to January 1, 2010 will not be required to submit evidence of citizenship, unless they update their voter registration from one county to another after that date.
“I want to thank Representative Mills for his leadership and for working with me on this common sense issue,” Secretary Handel said. “This law will strengthen and protect our elections process, and prevent non-citizens from registering to vote and casting a ballot in Georgia’s elections.”
On Tuesday, the Senate passed a companion bill, SB 86, sponsored by Sen. Cecil Staton (R-Macon).
In the 2008 general election, 230 Georgia residents cast a “challenged” ballot due to questions about their citizenship. These voters failed to return to their county registrar’s office with proper citizenship documentation before the election was certified.
Please click here for more information on HB 45 from the Georgia General Assembly website: http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2009_10/sum/hb45.htm
Secretary Handel has implemented and successfully defended numerous initiatives to protect Georgia’s elections, including the state’s system to verify the information provided on a voter registration application; the voter identification requirement for in-person voting; and the triple signature check requirement on absentee ballots.
In Spring 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice directed the state comply with federal law and verify the eligibility of voter registration applicants based on a number of factors, including citizenship. In October 2008, a U.S. District Court panel affirmed the state’s actions to comply with federal law, and directed the state to continue the verification process.
Karen Handel was sworn in as Secretary of State in January 2007. The Secretary of State's office offers important services to our citizens and our business community. Among the office’s wide-ranging responsibilities, the Secretary of State is charged with conducting efficient and secure elections, the registration of corporations, and the regulation of securities and professional license holders. The office also oversees the Georgia Archives and the Capitol Museum.