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American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia Records - Guide to Selected Case Files: Voting Rights

The ACLU of Georgia's records are housed at the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies. This guide provides further description about the cases litigated by the ACLU of Georgia which are best documented in the records.

Description

As a fundamental component of the United States’ democratic form of government, society has come to value the right to vote and elect governmental representatives. However, questions of how legislative districts should be drawn, disillusionment with the political process, and felon disenfranchisement have had an effect on this electoral process.


The ACLU of Georgia believes in the importance of the democratic process and seeks to promote voting regulation that incentivizes as many people to vote as possible. The ACLU of Georgia monitors electoral processes to ensure the rights of voters are protected, and litigates matters related to voting rights when needed. Additionally, the ACLU of Georgia engages in a number of voter education campaigns and actively works to reform laws allowing felon disenfranchisement.

Cases

Common Cause v. Billups, 2005-2009

General Description: Voter ID

Summary of the Issues Involved: The Georgia legislature passed a bill  requiring each voter who planned to cast a ballot in person to present a government-issued photo ID in order to vote. Governor Sonny Perdue signed the bill into law, and the photo ID requirement was granted preclearance by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Georgia General Assembly also voted to raise the minimum cost for government-issued photo IDs. Plaintiffs filed this suit arguing the laws violated the Georgia Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution by placing an undue burden on the right to vote, which the increased cost serving as a kind of poll tax. In 2005, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia issued a preliminary injunction, temporarily stopping enforcement of the laws, but ultimately decided against striking down the law. Ultimately, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit found a sufficient state interest in the voter identification law, and permitted the law to be entered into force.