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So much for voter ID 'disenfranchisement'

Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2008

The outrage should have been deafening. Surely you would have heard the protests over voter "disenfranchisement," of citizens being locked out of the polls because they lacked the identification required by a government intent on suppressing poor and minority voters.

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Actually, we haven't heard a peep. That's probably because there was nothing to hear.

Remember all the fights over the Georgia Legislature's efforts to pare down the list of identifications needed at the polls? Civil rights groups claimed voters, especially the poor and minorities, would be unable to vote because they'd be less likely to have proper ID.

They even took it to court. The suit was rejected when it turned out the woman on whose behalf the groups sued actually had the required ID - as does just about anyone with a pulse.

The Georgia Secretary of State's office made it even easier by sending traveling vans around the state to provide free ID cards.

With at least one lawsuit out of the way, then, Tuesday's Presidential Preference Primary was the first big test of the law.

The result? A new state record in voter turnout, for one thing. Likewise, in Columbia County, turnout at 43 percent was far higher than the 30 percent predicted by Elections Director Deborah Marshall.

More importantly, no voters were "disenfranchised" or prevented from voting. Marshall says 20 Columbia County voters had to cast "provisional" ballots because they lacked proper ID; those ballots will be counted once the voters' identification is verified. Was that so hard?

So, with voter ID passing its first big test with flying colors, what happened to all the protests? The fact is, the detractors have just been proven spectacularly wrong - but don't expect to hear any noises that sound like them admitting it.



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