Voting requirements could change - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Voting requirements could change

Valdosta - Casting a vote in Georgia is pretty easy right now. All you need is some form of identification, and there's several options to choose from. "Any government document, government check, social security card, birth certification, bank statement, all of those are acceptable," said Deb Cox, Lowndes Board of Elections Supervisor.

But voting requirements may soon be a little stricter. Lawmakers passed two bills that would require you to show a picture i-d when voting. "It's just unfair," said George Rhynes, NAACP President.

Members of Valdosta's NAACP chapter think the requirement will be devastating for Georgia's voter turnout. "With the low percentage of people who are voting in this nation already, its a disgrace to the world for us to now put another obstacle out there," said Rhynes.

They say getting people to the polls is hard enough already, especially minorities, the poor, and the elderly. "Voting is one of the rights that we really need to protect and it seems like we're trying to make it harder for people," said Councilman James R. Wright.

But lawmakers say requiring picture i.d.'s would cut down on voter fraud. Workers at the Board of Elections say the current identification requirements do leave the door open for fraud. It would be fairly easy but in the long run I think it would be discovered," said Cox.

But like minority groups, Cox also thinks more regulation could mean lower turnouts. "I've heard from people over the course of the year who will call up and say 'I don't have a picture i.d., can I vote?" said Cox.

If she has to answer no, she fears that many won't make the effort to get a picture i.d. and Georgia's voting numbers will drop even lower.

posted by ashley.harper@walb.com

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