ATLANTA (CN) – Georgia claims U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is interpreting the Voting Rights Act unconstitutionally. Under a 2009 state law, Georgia can demand that voters prove citizenship with a driver’s license or state-issued ID. It challenges federal attempts to pre-empt this measure, which is aimed at Latino voters rather than blacks, as was traditional in the South.
Georgia asked the District of Columbia Federal Court for declaratory judgment on Act 143 of the 2009 Georgia General Assembly. The state claims its law will not “have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color under Section 5” [of the Voting Rights Act of 1965].
Georgia also asks the court to declare that “Section 5 as most recently amended and renewed in the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006 is unconstitutional and its enforcement should be permanently enjoined.”
Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act prohibits any state from enforcing “any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting; or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting different from that in force and effect on November 1, 1964,” unless a declaratory judgment has been obtained from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that such change does not hinder the right to vote based on race. Georgia’s current benchmark for its voters requires that they be included on a database enacted through the Help America Vote Act of 2002.