Tuesday, June 2, 2009

GA Secretary of State gets a No-No from Feds

Secretary of State Karen Handel has been told that the system she created to determine voter eligibility is flawed and needs to be changed.
In a six-page letter issued last week, and released Monday, Justice Department l
awyers said Handel’s office had created a system that “does not produce accurate and reliable information and that thousands of citizens who are in fact eligible to vote under Georgia law have been flagged.”

Handel and her aides created the system in 2007 under the requirements of the federal Help America Vote Act. The law requires states to verify a voter’s identity at the time of registration, but not necessarily to verify citizenship. In creating the system, Handel’s office extended the verification process to include citizenship; something the Justice Department said was “discretionary on the state’s part.”

But the system that was created, the federal lawyers found, was flawed and of the 7,000 individuals flagged as potential “non-citizens,” more than 50 percent were actually U.S. citizens.

Furthermore, the department found, those flagged as non-citizens were overwhelmingly black, Asian or Hispanic.

“These burdens are real, are substantial and are retrogressive for minority voters,” Loretta King, the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a letter to the state.

The ruling bars the state from continuing the citizenship verification, although there is some dispute as to whether the original verification for identification can continue.

Is anyone really surprised that Karen Handel would try to keep minorities from voting? This has been a Southern Republican tactic for years. Since we can't give literacy test anymore, and since we can't charge a poll tax, we (and by we I mean SOME Southern Republicans, not myself) are being more creative on how to get minorities off the voter lists. It is a despicable practice! I am glad that the Federal Government is stepping in.

She is still considering suing the Justice Department:
Handel’s office said she is still considering options, including suing the Justice Department in federal court. In a post to her Twitter account Monday morning, Handel was direct: “If they think that we’re not going to fight for this, they’re wrong.”
All of this while GA and other Southern States argue they do not need to be held to the Civil Rights Act anymore because "things have changed."