Vexing Voter Verification In Georgia

I voted today, and I must say, it was quite an enjoyable experience. Early voting is definitely the way to go because it allows you to avoid the long lines on election day. We were in and out in about 10 minutes. The election staff was very courteous, and enjoyed the visit as much as our three sons, who we took with us so they could observe the whole process.

We arrived at around 3:30, so we would avoid the lunch crowd and get back home before the rush hour crowd ever showed up. As we entered the early voting site, there were notices plastered everywhere. Some mentioned the law about campaigning a certain distance from the location, others informed staff of the location for “poll observer” training which sounds like it would be fun, and one such notice was posted on a board for everyone to read and included a statement about Georgia voter identification and United States citizenship requirements. It turns out, after years of fighting over the Georgia Voter I.D. law, there is a new twist that has liberal panties in wad all over again.

Democrats argued for two years that instituting a voter identification law in Georgia would disenfranchise “poor, elderly, and minority” voters. That was b.s. and everyone knew it, but they still fought it. Why wouldn’t you want to validate the election by verifying the identify of the voters? It just didn’t make sense.

When you arrive at the polling location, you show them your government issued identification. You fill out a small piece of paper with your name, address and birthdate, and they verify that your name is on the list of registered voters, and that you are indeed who you say you are. Why is that a bad thing? It seems to me that the only people who wouldn’t want to legitimize the election, would be those who were trying to be deceptive or perpetrate a fraud during the election.

It turned out, that most people, “poor, elderly, and minorities” included, didn’t have an issue with the voter identification requirements. Maybe the media hyped it, maybe some specific people, like former President Jimmy Carter, just wanted to cause a stink to get their names in the news. Either way, it’s a done deal and all the challenges to the voter identification law were rejected, and life moved on. Until this past month or so.

The Georgia Secretary of State’s office has been working to verify the citizenship of the 550,000 people who registered to vote in Georgia this year. Apparently 4,538 of them have been flagged by the system for further evaluation and one person, Jose Morales, a student from Kennesaw State University, has filed suit to halt the process of verifying U.S. citizenship.

Apparently, he became a naturalized citizen last year, but he was one of the people flagged. That wasn’t the problem. The local voter registrar sent him a letter stating that he could not vote until he proved his citizenship. That wasn’t the problem. He went to the elections office, showed them his passport and they removed the flag. That wasn’t the problem. He received his voter registration card in the mail. That wasn’t the problem.

Later in the week he received another letter which told him if he did not contact the registrar by October 15th, his name would be removed from the list of registered voters. That shouldn’t have bothered him, because he had already seen the registrar and everything was cleared up. But that was the problem.

Why? Because he never took into account that the voter registrars office sent that letter the same day he arrived to show them his passport. He never took into account that he and that letter crossed paths that day at the registrars office. Instead he decided that he was being treated unfairly and filed a lawsuit. A simple phone call would have cleared things up, but he decided it would be far more satisfying to play the part of a victim rather than the part of an upstanding citizen that understands how the process works.

Secretary of State Karen Handel says she is simply following the Voting Rights Act and federal law by ensuring the integrity of the vote. But now she has to spend time answering to lawyers who want the votes of the 2.000 remaining people, who still need to be verified, counted on election day.

Handel’s office is busy working to clear as many people as quickly as they can and lawyers are working as quickly as they can to “compromise” and work together to resolve the matter. How much do you want to bet that this issue won’t make it through the Georgia courts quickly? How much do you want to bet that they will try to have citizenship verification removed because it’s unfair to “poor, elderly, and minority” voters? Just watch.

If the storyline for this issue is anything like the voter identification fight, you might as well kick back and relax, because the show is just beginning.