Originally created 07/08/06

Judge puts voter ID law on hold again



ATLANTA - A Fulton County judge barred the state's new voter ID law Friday, saying it placed undue burdens on voters.

With less than two weeks remaining before the July 18 primaries, Superior Court Judge Melvin Westmoreland granted a temporary restraining order against the law, which requires voters to show photo identification and limits the number of acceptable IDs to six.

Under Judge Westmoreland's order, voters can continue to use any of the 17 forms of ID that were previously accepted.

"The right to vote is not absolute as the State can impose voter qualifications and regulate access to voting," Judge Westmoreland wrote in his four-page order. "However, it cannot unduly burden that paramount right to vote. The power to regulate elections does not justify the abridgment of the right to vote."

Former Gov. Roy Barnes filed the lawsuit on behalf of two Atlanta voters who did not have the necessary IDs to vote in person under the new law.

The law has prompted heated debate. Critics called it a move by GOP leaders that makes it more difficult for poor, elderly and minority voters to participate in elections. Supporters said the changes were necessary to reduce the chances of fraud.

Gov. Sonny Perdue said the state would file a notice of immediate appeal. He said Georgia's law is similar to one in Indiana that had been upheld by a federal court and on appeal.