ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's top elections official is seeking the Justice Department's approval to enforce a law that requires new voters to prove they are U.S. citizens before they can cast a ballot.
Secretary of State Brian Kemp said Monday he filed a lawsuit seeking the department's approval of a measure signed into law in May 2009 that requires people registering to vote to prove their citizenship before their names can go onto voter rolls.
Supporters say it's designed to streamline the voter registration processes so that people who are ineligible to vote because they aren't citizens are kept off the voter rolls. And Kemp said the legislation will make Georgia "a model for election security and integrity."
But critics argue that legal voters may be kept off the rolls because they didn't have a Georgia driver's license, birth certificate, or other valid form of ID required by the law.
The lawsuit comes months after the Justice Department signed off on another measure that gives elections officials new powers to verify voters' identity and citizenship. That measure allowed the state to check new voters against information in state or federal databases to confirm who they are.
Justice Department officials did not immediately comment on the new lawsuit.
Under the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, Georgia and other states with a history of discriminatory voting practices must pre-clear any changes to election rules with the Justice Department or through the federal courts.Tags: