DOJ: Ga. voting checks need fed OK

ATLANTA - The U.S. Department of Justice is questioning a high number of requests by Georgia officials to check the Social Security numbers of newly registered voters.

In a letter to Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker, Justice Department officials said the two million checks conducted in Georgia since Oct. 1, 2007 appear to represent a "substantial" change in state law. As such, they need federal clearance under the Voting Rights Act to ensure they aren't discriminatory.

DOJ Voting Section Chief Christopher Coates said that without preclearance any voting changes are "legally unenforceable."

Officials with the state Secretary of State and the Attorney General's Office said they were consulting about how to proceed. The Justice Department had no immediate comment.

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