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11th Circuit Upholds Georgia Voter-ID Law

(CN) - The 11th Circuit upheld Georgia's photo-identification law for voters, saying the "insignificant burden imposed by the Georgia statute is outweighed by the interests in detecting and deterring voter fraud."

The Georgia Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and two voters challenged Georgia Photo ID Act of 2005, which requires every voter who casts a ballot in person to produce a photo ID card. The statute also requires state officials to issue, free of charge, a photo ID card to any registered voter.

The plaintiffs sought to enjoin the law, claiming it violated their 14th Amendment rights and disproportionately disenfranchised blacks and other minority groups.

The district court dismissed the lawsuit for lack of standing, but alternatively ruled on the merits and denied the injunction.

The federal appeals court in Atlanta reversed dismissal and ruled for the election officials, citing the Supreme Court's ruling in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, which upheld a similar law in Indiana.

"The legitimate state interest in preventing voter fraud, as recognized in Crawford, is more than 'sufficient to outweigh the limited burden' of producing photo identification," Judge Pryor wrote.

The court also upheld an earlier award of attorney fees, after the plaintiffs successfully stopped the state from charging a fee for voter identification cards.

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