Voters would have to prove citizenship

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ATLANTA --- Georgia is poised to become the second state in the nation to require prospective voters to prove they are U.S. citizens before they cast their ballot, as lawmakers passed tough new restrictions intended to crack down on voter fraud.

The Georgia House voted 102-63 on Wednesday to require voters to prove citizenship using a passport, a driver's license or other documents, one day after the Senate passed a similar measure. Legislators would have to hash out minor differences between the two versions before it goes to Gov. Sonny Perdue's desk.

Only Arizona requires proof of citizenship to register to vote.

Secretary of State Karen Handel, Georgia's top election official, and other supporters consider the measure crucial to halting voter fraud and preserving confidence in the electoral system. They say the current system, which requires voters to check a box on an application affirming they are a U.S. citizen, is deeply flawed.

"If it's important enough that it's already a part of the law to be a citizen to vote, then you should provide that proof before you can vote," said state Rep. James Mills, R-Gainesville.

But critics say it's a version of a poll tax that could disenfranchise the elderly and others who may not have a passport, birth certificate or other proof of citizenship. State Rep. Pedro Marin, one of Georgia's few Hispanic state legislators, called the bill a "Gestapo tactic" that could discourage some from registering to vote.

"Voting is one of the few opportunities when the principles of equality are fully realized," said Mr. Marin, D-Duluth. "Our country, our state is a better place when all who have the right to vote can do so without obstruction."

The proposal would require potential voters to provide proof of citizenship with their application, such as a driver's license, birth certificate, U.S. passport or U.S. naturalization documents. It would kick in next year.

Immigrant rights activists also have come out strongly against the proposed law.

"America has changed," said Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials. "We elected an African-American president, but Georgia wants to go back to the 1950s by enacting very restrictive, very cumbersome voting practices."

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Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 03/05/09 - 04:35 am
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You daggone right America has

You daggone right America has changed, Mr. Gonzalez! More and more illegals are flowing across our borders, and the American citizens want to secure one of things that is precious to them, and that is the right to vote. The reason people like you are worried is that the people who will make the effort to do what is required to vote are probably the type of people who would put more pressure on the government to force out the illegals!

rbk
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rbk 03/05/09 - 05:39 am
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yeah, a lot of them must be

yeah, a lot of them must be voting illegally if they are pitching such a fit about having to show proper ID! I'm all for everyone showing proper ID to vote.

karmakills123
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karmakills123 03/05/09 - 07:56 am
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"Voting is one of the few

"Voting is one of the few opportunities when the principles of equality are fully realized," said Mr. Marin, D-Duluth. "Our country, our state is a better place when all who have the RIGHT to vote can do so without obstruction.".............correct....so show proper Identification and there will be no obstruction...simple

disssman
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disssman 03/05/09 - 12:48 pm
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Before you join in on the

Before you join in on the band wagon, consider the time required and the cost of a new passport every 4-6 years and its purpose is to allow you to vote? BTW I think the process for obtaining a passport requires at least one trip to atlante for fingerprints and biometrics, but I won't swear to it.

lifelongresidient
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lifelongresidient 03/05/09 - 01:43 pm
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mr. gonzalez, as a black man

mr. gonzalez, as a black man whose father was forced to go around the back at mcdonalds, fought dogs, high pressure hoses and other physical violence and for those WHO LOST THEIR LIVES TRYING TO EXCERCISE THE RIGHT TO VOTE if you or anyone else is an illegal alien, in this country illegally, an undocumented alien or what ever the heck else you want to call it you should not be voting or IN THIS COUNTRY IN THE FIRST PLACE...SO HAVING TO PROVE YOU ARE A CITIZEN IS ONLY NATURAL AND THE LEGAL THING TO DO!!!!!!!...IF YOU OR ANY OTHER ADVOCATE FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS DONE LIKE IT ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS CATCH THE FASTES THING SMOKING GOING WEST THEN TAKE A HARD LEFT WHEN YOU GET TO TEXAS AND GO BACK ACROSS THE BORDER

UncleBill
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UncleBill 03/05/09 - 11:30 pm
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Do we have a problem with

Do we have a problem with non-citizens registering to vote? How many? When did it happen? How does a drivers license prove citizenship? Where is the news, supported by facts, about voter fraud? Have you read it? There is a principle of diminishing returns, basicly that effort expended beyond a certain point produces very little in results for the effort. I submit that there is not a big problem with non-citizens registereing mainly because they are not interested in doing so (in fact afraid), and all this hoopla is not worth it. Spend the time and effort on somthing worth while and go see your shrink for the anti-paranoid meds.

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