For Immediate Release
DOJ Decision Allowing Georgia to Block Voter Registration Undermines Voting Rights
WASHINGTON - The League of Women Voters is dismayed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent decision to allow the state of Georgia to implement a discriminatory requirement that new voters provide a Passport or other proof of citizenship in order to register to vote.
This requirement will disenfranchise thousands of citizens who do not have or cannot afford to acquire the needed documentation to prove their citizenship due to disability, age, illness, transportation, or financial issues. The greatest impact is expected to fall on the elderly and on racial and ethnic minorities.
The Voting Rights Act (VRA) bans racial discrimination in voting practices, but the U.S. Department of Justice recently approved the Georgia law. This decision undermines effective enforcement of the VRA.
The burden of the new law will be greatest for citizens for whom it is most cost prohibitive or inconvenient to take off work, get transportation, stand in line, and apply for documentation. Thus, this requirement would disenfranchise the very people who currently must work the hardest to vote. The vast majority of Americans do not have a Passport and obtaining copies of birth certificates can be difficult and costly.
The League of Women Voters strongly supports the voting rights of all citizens and is working throughout the country to block restrictive legislation.
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The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, has fought since 1920 to improve our systems of government and impact public policies through citizen education and advocacy. The League's enduring vitality and resonance comes from its unique decentralized structure. The League is a grassroots organization, working at the national, state and local levels.