WASHINGTON - The League of Women Voters is expressing dismay over the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent decision to allow the state of Georgia to implement a discriminatory requirement that new voters provide a Passport or other proof of citizenship in order to register to vote.
This requirement will disenfranchise thousands of citizens who do not have or cannot afford to acquire the needed documentation to prove their citizenship due to disability, age, illness, transportation, or financial issues. The greatest impact is expected to fall on the elderly and on racial and ethnic minorities.
The Voting Rights Act (VRA) bans racial discrimination in voting practices, but the U.S. Department of Justice recently approved the Georgia law. This decision undermines effective enforcement of the VRA.
The burden of the new law will be greatest for citizens for whom it is most cost prohibitive or inconvenient to take off work, get transportation, stand in line, and apply for documentation. Thus, this requirement would disenfranchise the very people who currently must work the hardest to vote. The vast majority of Americans do not have a Passport and obtaining copies of birth certificates can be difficult and costly.
The League of Women Voters strongly supports the voting rights of all citizens and is working throughout the country to block restrictive legislation.