Conyers: GA Legislature Should Have Never Passed 'Modern Day Poll Tax'
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2005, 3:11pm PT  

A federal judge has just issued an injunction to keep the new Photo ID requirements at polling places in the state of Georgia from moving forward. As reported many times on The BRAD BLOG, the requirement for photo ID at the polls would disenfranchise anywhere from 10 to 20 million Americans who do not have driver licenses --- mainly the elderly, minorities, the poor and other urban dwellers.

The call for Photo ID at the polling place is the latest attempt by Republicans who hope to further disenfranchise Democratic-leaning voters across the country. The effort has been pushed hard by the self-declared "non-partisan" phony GOP "voting rights" group calling themselves the American Center for Voting Rights and was called for by the shameful Baker/Carter National Election Reform Commission, which was led by disenfranchisement expert and Bush family crony James A. Baker along with high-level GOP operatives from the ACVR.

This just in from AP...

ATLANTA (AP) --- A federal court has barred Georgia from enforcing a new state law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

In the ruling issued today, the U.S. District Court in Rome agreed with critics who claimed the law amounts to an unconstitutional poll tax.

The U.S. Justice Department approved the law in August. The department said that while Attorney General Alberto Gonzales did NOT object to the state's voter I-D requirement, the federal agency's approval did NOT preclude lawsuits against it.

The Republican-backed measure sparked racial tension during the state's legislative session last spring. Most of Georgia's black lawmakers walked out at the state Capitol when it was approved.

In a news release just issued to The BRAD BLOG, Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), ranking minority member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, lauded the decision to stop what he referred to as "a modern day poll tax."

Says Conyers in the release: "Truth be told, the issue should have never reached this point - the Georgia Legislature should never have passed this modern day poll tax, the Governor should not have signed it, and the Justice Department should have intervened to stop it. That is why 21 Members and I asked the Department to prevent this law from taking effect."

The full press release from Conyers office follows...

For Immediate Release:
October 18, 2005

Conyers Commends Decision to Bar Georgia's Voter ID Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee issued the following statement regarding U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy's decision to issue a preliminary injunction preventing Georgia from enforcing its new voter identification law as being "an unconstitutional poll tax"

"Truth be told, the issue should have never reached this point - the Georgia Legislature should never have passed this modern day poll tax, the Governor should not have signed it, and the Justice Department should have intervened to stop it. That is why 21 Members and I asked the Department to prevent this law from taking effect.

During their day, poll taxes and literacy tests, which were also said to protect against fraud and breed confidence in elections, as the Georgia law purports to do, had the direct effect of erecting a barrier to minority voters. The Georgia law would prevent our most vulnerable communities, the minority, the poor, and the elderly, from voting. All Americans, regardless of race, economic status, or age are entitled to the most fundamental right of our democracy, the right to vote.

Just this afternoon, the Subcommittee on the Constitution held a hearing on the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. As we work to establish a record for reauthorization, today's decision barring Georgia's new voter ID law serves as evidence as to how crucial the Voting Rights Act is to ensuring that all of our citizens participate in the political process."

##JUD-109-10/18/05##