ATLANTA — State lawmakers voted Friday to require prospective voters to prove they are U.S. citizens before they cast their ballots, making Georgia the second in the nation with such requirements.
Only Arizona requires its residents to prove they are U.S. citizens to register to vote.
The measure, which passed the House by a 104-67 vote, would require voters to prove their citizenship using a passport, a driver’s license or other documents. It now goes to Gov. Sonny Perdue.
State Sen. Cecil Staton, R-Macon, sponsored the bill.
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Supporters have pushed the measure as a way to halt voter fraud and preserve confidence in the electoral system.
But critics say it could disenfranchise the elderly and others who may not have the documents on hand. State Rep. Doug McKillip, D-Athens, said it was a sloppy piece of legislation that will likely get “ripped to shreds” by the first judge to consider it.
“This is a Voting Rights Act nightmare,” he said of the law that requires Georgia to clear elections changes with the U.S. Department of Justice. “It’s going to be an embarrassment to the state of Georgia when it goes on the block before a federal judge.”