August 21, 2007
As election season draws near, you can expect a familiar battle that will only confuse voters once again. It's the battle over Georgia's voter ID law, and it's been dragging on for more than two years.
Supporters say voters should be required to show an approved photo ID at the polls to prevent voter fraud, even though they've never offered proof there was any fraud problem that needed to be solved. Each election season they move forward at break-neck speed to implement the rule, only to have it struck down or put on hold in court.
Even though the Georgia Supreme Court tossed out the latest challenge to the law, opponents likely will continue to fight it, this year, but it may be time to give up that fight.
State leaders should encourage voter participation. They shouldn't pass laws that could discourage some people from voting. But at least the current version of the law doesn't charge people to get an approved ID. And the state is implementing an education program to try to make sure voters understand the rules.
The state insists the law will be enforced this year.
If it once again ends up announcing that's not true, confused Georgians will have another excuse not to vote. This law isn't necessary, but in a post 9/11 world, the requirement for more personal identification is inevitable.
So critics, supporters, and state leaders should work together for a change. Let's educate voters, make sure everyone who wants an ID can get one easily, and encourage every eligible voter to express his or her opinion at the polls. That's what's best for Georgia.