Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Ballot Is Still out on Voter IDs; the State's Effort to Assure That Everyone Can Vote Hasn't Been without Some Snags

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Ballot Is Still out on Voter IDs; the State's Effort to Assure That Everyone Can Vote Hasn't Been without Some Snags

Article excerpt

Byline: WALTER C. JONES

ATLANTA - As Georgia's presidential primary approaches, most state elections officials are congratulating themselves on the lack of complaints about new requirements for photo identification during November's balloting.

But the lone Democrat on the State Election Board isn't so sure the signs actually indicate smooth operations.

Board member David Worley, a longtime critic of photo-ID requirements, said Monday that too little evidence was available to gauge success. He said the Feb. 5 primary would be the first real test.

In November, 92 counties and more than 200 cities conducted elections, most for the first time since courts cleared for use the state law requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote. Deputy Secretary of State Rob Simms told the board Monday that the state received no complaints, either from voters or from poll workers.

However, 57 people may have grumbled, some privately, when they were not able to cast regular ballots because they didn't have a valid ID. They were allowed to cast provisional ballots, which would only count if the voter returns with the necessary documents.

In preparation for the November elections, the state identified 172,000 registered voters who had never been issued driver's licenses or ID cards by the Department of Driver Services. Three mailings to each person on that list - along with cable-television announcements and brochures sent to libraries, civic groups and 10,000 religious organizations in the areas holding elections - provided instructions for obtaining a free ID card from the county voter registrar.

More than 6,000 IDs were issued at registrars' offices across the state, 1,100 in Richmond County alone.

But some of those in Richmond County were duplicates, including a few for voters who received as many as eight cards, said Lynn Bailey, executive director of the Richmond County Board of Elections. …

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