Originally created 12/16/05

Voter IDs would likely disenfranchise

Dr. Edouard Servy recently wrote that the proposed Georgia Voter ID requirement might "boost participation" at election time ("Recognize voting for what it really is: a desired privilege," Nov. 30). While I'm sorry to take issue with my old friend, his hope is mostly wishful thinking.

The more likely result of requiring legally registered Georgia voters to show government-issued picture IDs at polling places would be to disenfranchise thousands, mostly poor, elderly or black.

The Republican-controlled legislature that passed House Bill 244 claimed picture IDs are necessary to counteract voter fraud in Georgia. But H.B. 244 is the real fraud. Picture IDs would "fix" a voter fraud problem which doesn't exist, and fail to fix one that does.

Picture IDs might be needed if individuals were voting fraudulently by impersonating others at the polls. But Cathy Cox, Georgia's secretary of state, says there has not been a single reported case of such impersonation in her nine years in office! Republicans also claim that, in the past, 5,000 Georgia dead people have "voted." Perhaps, but since 2000 the secretary of state's office has systematically purged county records of the names of deceased Georgians. Bottom line:There's little or no fraud at the polls to "fix"!

But there remains the problem of fraud by absentee ballot, which has far fewer checks than in-person voting. In fact, most of those past votes by deceased people were absentee ballots. Unfortunately, Georgia's new law does nothing to reduce absentee fraud. Instead, it actually encourages it!

I wonder: Do the majority of those at-the-poll voters who would be disenfranchised under Georgia's ID law vote Democratic? Do the majority of absentee voters vote Republican?

The federal court that struck down the Georgia law did the right thing. Georgia's Republicans should not be allowed to pad their vote totals by ignoring fraudulent absentee voting while stealing the votes of the state's most vulnerable citizens.

Charles Heywood, Martinez


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