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Georgia’s Voter ID Lawsuit, Seven Years Later: Disenfranchised, or Still Voting?

Hmm. Witnesses later got IDs and voted in several elections, despite swearing under oath that they could not.

Hans von Spakovsky and Tiffany Bates


September 25, 2013 - 12:00 am
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The recent passage of a voter ID law in North Carolina has sparked opponents to issue the same polemic statements that always accompany these reform efforts.

Phrases like “poll tax,” “suppression,” and even “the new face of Jim Crow” filled dispatches from Georgia media and liberal advocacy groups back in 2005, when Georgia passed an almost identical law. Just like in North Carolina today, Georgia’s law was called a “deceitful, devious plan to deny votes to hundreds of thousands” by “callous lawmakers determined to restrict the franchise.” “Georgia now has the most draconian voter identification requirement in the nation,” claimed Neil Bradley, associate director of the Atlanta-based ACLU Voting Rights Project. Reverend Nelson B. Rivers, COO of the NAACP, called it “one of the worst anti-voting-rights laws in modern times.”

The outrage back then is almost identical to the outrage expressed now over North Carolina’s law by everyone from Eric Holder to Hillary Clinton. However, the Georgia law has now been in place for seven years: has it had the effect that opponents swore it would have, and that critics of North Carolina’s law say their proposed law will have?

When Common Cause Georgia — a liberal “citizens’ lobby organization” — originally filed a federal lawsuit in 2005 over Georgia’s voter ID law along with a number of other plaintiffs, the organization claimed that hundreds of thousands of Georgians would be unable to vote. They produced witness after witness — who signed affidavits under penalty of perjury — claiming that they did not have a photo ID and could not obtain the free Georgia photo ID the law provided, and therefore would be turned away at the polls. The plaintiffs lost their lawsuit (as well as a state court action) after the federal court concluded that the law was neither discriminatory nor a burden on voters, and that none of them would be unable to vote.

Was the court wrong? Were the claims of these witnesses true? Were these individual Georgians prevented from casting their ballots?

Official state voting records show that the court was right. Many of these witnesses — again, who signed affidavits — went on to vote in the 2008, 2010, and 2012 elections.

Clara Williams was a 68-year-old African-American resident of Fulton County, Georgia, and a named plaintiff in Common Cause’s suit. Because she had been adopted, Mrs. Williams swore in an affidavit that she was “afraid that election officials will not allow me to vote because I do not have (and cannot obtain) a Georgia Photo ID in my name as it appears on my voter registration.”

But voting records show she voted in local elections in 2009, and in state and federal elections in 2010 and 2012.

When Amanda Clifton got a divorce in 2005 and changed her name, she swore the same thing in an affidavit: “I am afraid that election officials will not allow me to vote because I do not have (and cannot obtain) a Georgia Photo ID in my name as it appears on my voter registration.”

But voting records show that Clifton voted in the 2008, 2010, and 2012 elections.

Annie Johnson, then a 75-year-old African-American woman, cited economic hardship, physical disability, and the lack of a car as reasons why she would be unable to vote.

Annie Johnson voted in 2008, 2010, and 2012.

Ronnie Gibson, then a 49-year-old African-American man, signed an affidavit fearing disenfranchisement because he did not have and could not obtain a free photo ID card.

Georgia records show that he had no problems voting in the 2008, 2010, and 2012 elections.

Ruth Butler, then an 89-year-old white resident of DeKalb County, claimed she would be “unable to obtain a photo identification card without great personal and economic hardship.”

But there she was, voting in 2008, 2010, and 2012.

Betty Kooper (90), Pearl Kramer (80), Norma Pechman (84), Eva Jeffrey, and Cheryl Simmons (45) all cited economic hardship as the reason for their inability to get a Georgia ID card, yet all of them voted in the 2008 election. (Several of these voters have passed away since voting in 2008.)

Georgia voting records disprove the insistent claims that voter ID laws strip minority and elderly voters of the right to vote. These witnesses, after signing sworn affidavits that they did not have and could not obtain a Georgia voter ID card, nevertheless did obtain ID cards and did cast their ballots.

Similar sky-is-falling claims are now being raised over the North Carolina and the Texas voter ID laws, and these claims will doubtless prove to be as baseless as the claims from Georgia. (Several faux martyrs have already been identified by critics of these new laws.)

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
There is evidence that a lack of ID has allowed illegal voters to tip elections.
Voter ID is a first step. The next one is to purge rolls of ineligible voters. The final one is get a handle on the counting process (ever notice how Democrat votes keep going up and up during recounts?).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Does any community, State or County really want people voting who cannot figure out how to get a simple ID? I mean some political party could round them up and mercilessly exploit them for there own nefarious purposes . . .
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Several of these voters have passed away since voting in 2008."

But I'll bet *that* didn't stop them from voting in 2010 and 2012, either...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (41)
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1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Think BIGGER. Much bigger.

The political calculus behind the noisome voter ID kerfuffle is much more shameless and callous than most commenters realize. Old Nick himself would be proud to have conceived it.

Simply put, the point is that African-Americans have been KICKED ASIDE by illegal immigrants and legal Hispanics as the major Democratic minority support group. (But African-Americans still love the son of Kenyan slave traffickers.)


1. The point of opposing voter ID laws is to enable large numbers of illegal immigrants to vote for their party - the Democrats.

2. Democrats have thrown African-Americans to the curb. As a group, African-Americans have gone from being the most significant and respected ethnic minority to becoming just one of a jumble of identity groups needed to keep the Democratic party in the style to which it has become accustomed.

3. Democrats have imported a huge population of political serfs from Mexico. Indeed, the number of illegal immigrants knowingly imported FAR EXCEEDS the African-American population.

4. African-Americans are commonly portrayed as the disenfranchised victims of voter ID laws. In fact, due to the sad fact of wide-spread welfare dependency, African-Americans are probably MORE likely than whites to have legitimate voter ID.

5. The 0.1 percent who do not rely on TV "news" recall that Jim Crow, Bull Connor etc. were DEMOCRAT productions.

In the voter ID kerfuffle, African-Americans once again find themselves moved around as pawns in a battle to empower OTHER Democratic constituencies.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
While this article is nice and all, it doesn't prove anything legally one way or another. The claim was that they wouldn't be able to get a photo ID without great personal hardship. Just noting that they were able to vote later doesn't mean that they didn't endure personal hardship in order to make that happen. Instead it could mean that they put in the effort to endure great personal hardship because voting was important to them.

Or, more likely, being part of a lawsuit made their circumstances more visible to someone who volunteered to help them out in getting the necessary photo ID.

I think voter fraud is rampant and the reason people can get away claiming that it isn't is that there's no agency in government dedicated to actively looking for it. You could claim that drunk driving didn't exist if no one collected any statistics about it and the accidents and deaths were folded into other automobile incidents.

Voter ID is critically important to determining the extent of the voter fraud problem and is the first baby step toward stopping it. And I'm not particularly fussy about how much money it will cost to make photo ID happen. If a judge says that making people go get a photo ID is too burdensome, I wouldn't have a problem sending a government employee in a gold-plated limousine to the door of anyone who needs a photo ID if that's what it takes to make it happen and pass muster in the courts. Either drive the poor unfortunate person to the courthouse or carry the equipment in the limo to make his photo ID on the spot. And either way, make sure he's registered to vote before you're finished dealing with him.

The most important function of government in my opinion is to run honest and fair elections. If you don't have that, the rest of the functions of government are meaningless. So I don't have a problem with spending money on making fair elections happen if that's what it takes.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
AHA! Note their affidavits didn't say they swore they couldn't get an ID and vote, but that they swore they feared they couldn't get an ID and vote. Disprove that!

And of course, the lefties have a fallback contradiction argument they use on voter ID laws: "Voter ID laws are voter suppression. Also, the effort to pass voter ID laws, and their passage, makes the very people whose votes they're intended to suppress get angry, register in greater numbers, and vote in greater numbers."

Don't try to reason with these people. Pseudo-reason and fear-mongering are their whole modus operandis.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In Hawaii, our state has been run by Democrats since the early 60's. Complete, 100% control. In Hawaii, we require a photo ID to vote. Amazing how requiring a photo ID doesn't seem to be a problem for Democrats when they know they already control the outcome.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You have to show a photo ID for everything now. That includes, for the elderly voters mentioned, just entering a government building to visit the Social Security office to start benefits, not to mention in the office itself. Ditto for Medicaid for nursing home recipients, where ID requirements have tightened in recent years including a requirement for a birth certificate. I'll bet the elderly mentioned in this article have had no problem getting Social Security or any other federal benefit. I'll also bet that these same people who claim they cannot get to a place to get ID had no problem getting to their voting site.

To go further: if you're an adult and you claim you don't have and cannot get a photo ID today, the proper response should not be sympathy and attempts to make the system work around you. Instead, the response should be a criminal investigation. Those without ID these days are much more typically those on the lam, living under the table, or pulling some sort of scam, often under a false name. They are not likely to be innocent elderly. As a former correctional officer I saw firsthand how counselors would work with inmates about to be paroled or released to ensure they could get proper IDs as quickly as possible once outside. The argument that someone can't get one is suspicious, if not total bunk.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The faux martyrs need to be given "a whole bunch of media attention", especially at election time.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I can't help but wonder about these poor individuals who can't vote because they don't have a photo ID. Surely it must be rather difficult to live without one. How many times are they unable to show an ID to the waitress holding their credit card? Or maybe they want to cash a check, get insurance, etc? It's must be very hard to get around without a photo ID.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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