The second shoe has dropped in Georgia. A year ago, there were temporary injunctions in place in both state and federal courts against the new Voter ID Law in that state. The law had been modified in response to a prior ruling in the federal court. The revised law allowed any resident of Georgia who did not already have a driver's license, to obtain for free a photo ID like those used by people who do not, or cannot, get a drivers license.
Earlier this year, an appeal of a state judge's injunction against the same law was decided in the Georgia Supreme Court. That Court did not rule on the merits of the case, but instead dismissed the case because none of the plaintiffs had any right to bring such a case.
Now, US District Judge Harold Murphy has dissolved his own temporary injunction against the law, and dismissed the whole case as being without merit. (Since this was a civil rights case — voting is the most basic civil right — and Georgia prevailed, the last step remaining should be a stiff fee award against the plaintiffs and their ACLU-type attorneys, for bringing a baseless claim.)
Judge Murphy wrote a 159-page decision that praised the state's "exceptional efforts" to contact voters to inform them of the new law, and how to comply with it for free. He also noted that any voter could still vote by absentee ballot without showing an ID, so no voter was "prevented from participating" in elections.
A correct summary of this case came from Secretary of State Karen Handel. She called Murphy's ruling "a tremendous victory" for integrity in elections. The state court decision is final. The plaintiff's counsel has not committed to whether they will appeal. The trend of cases across the country is now strongly in favor of Voter ID laws. Appeals of decisions upholding such laws will probably fail.
It will be interesting to see what precincts in Georgia might have significant declines in votes cast, with the ID law being enforced for the first time beginning in with "early voting" on 18 September. If there is a serious decrease, it will indicate that a significant problem has now been solved by a common sense law, upheld by common sense judges.
The facts for this article, but not the legal conclusions, come from an article in AccessNorthGeorgia.com, from the Associated Press, published on 6 September.