Secretary Handel Thanks Governor Perdue for Signing Legislation Requiring Proof of Citizenship to Register to Vote
Atlanta – Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel today thanked Governor Perdue for signing legislation that would require voter registration applicants to provide proof of United States citizenship.
“I want to thank Governor Perdue for signing this common sense legislation that will further strengthen the integrity and confidence in our elections by ensuring that only U.S. citizens are able to register and vote,” Secretary Handel said.
The legislation, Senate Bill 86, was sponsored by Sen. Cecil Staton (R-Macon) and Rep. James Mills (R-Gainesville). SB 86 requires 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.
“I also want to thank Senator Staton and Representative Mills for working with me on this important issue,” Secretary Handel said. “Georgia’s election procedures, including the registration process, are a model for security and protection of every citizen’s vote.”
SB 86 was modeled after a similar law in Arizona, which has already received U.S. Department of Justice preclearance. Upon receiving preclearance, Georgia will be only the second state in the nation to require applicants to provide proof of their citizenship at the time of registration. This legislation will also streamline the elections process by having voter registration applicants provide the required citizenship documents at the beginning of the registration process. Current law only requires those registering to vote to “swear or affirm” that they are a U.S. citizen by checking a box on the voter registration application.
Please click here for more information on SB 86 from the Georgia General Assembly website: http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2009_10/sum/sb86.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.
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.