Last year, two federal courts ordered the State of Georgia to implement a system to verify the citizenship of registered voters. This arose after Karen Handel, Georgia’s Secretary of State, sent letters to 4,771 voter registration applicants whose records at the Georgia Department of Driver Services indicated they were not U.S. citizens.
Federal law requires the Secretary of State to make sure the information is accurate. Nonetheless, several groups filed a lawsuit over the letters, but two separate federal courts ordered the Secretary of State to continue verifying citizenship. The procedure the Secretary of State established was put together with the help of the U.S. Department of Justice.
In the November General Election, 230 voters had their ballots rejected because there was no proof they were U.S. citizens.
Here’s where it gets tricky.
Though the U.S. Department of Justice helped craft the verification procedure, the procedure had to be pre-cleared by the DOJ pursuant to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
As the pre-clearance review was going forward, the Presidential administrations changed. And now Barack Obama has denied pre-clearance. In other words, if the Georgia Secretary of State wishes to make sure people voting are citizens of the United States, she is going to have to sue the federal government.
Georgia’s Inspector General is presently investigation 30 different cases of non-citizens casting ballots in 2008’s federal elections in Georgia.
The verification process has raised flags on the attempts of 2,100 different people trying to register to vote in Georgia.
Secretary of State Karen Handel, in a statement released by her office, noted:
“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. Clearly, politics took priority over common sense and good public policy.”
Secretary Handel will talk about this and related matters at RedState’s August 1st gathering in Atlanta.