Secretary of State Karen Handel says decision will allow non-citizens to vote in Georgia.
In a letter released Monday, the Justice Department said the Georgia voter-verification program – which uses Social Security numbers and driver’s license data to check if prospective voters are citizens – is frequently inaccurate and has a “discriminatory effect” on minorities.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that DOJ lawyers said the office of Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel had created a system that “does not produce accurate and reliable information and that thousands of citizens who are in fact eligible to vote under Georgia law have been flagged.”
"This flawed system frequently subjects a disproportionate number of African-American, Asian and/or Hispanic voters to additional, and more importantly, erroneous burdens on the right to register to vote," Loretta King, acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Department's civil rights division, said in a letter.
Handel, a possible Republican candidate for governor in 2010, slammed the DOJ’s decision. In a statement she said it “shows a shocking disregard for the integrity of our elections.”
“DOJ has thrown open the door for activist organizations such as ACORN to register non-citizens to vote in Georgia’s elections, and the state has no ability to verify an applicant’s citizenship status or whether the individual even exists. DOJ completely disregarded Georgia’s obvious and direct interest in preventing non-citizens from voting, instead siding with the ACLU and MALDEF (The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund). “Clearly, politics took priority over common sense and good public policy.”Photos: AP, Georgia Secretary of State