Common Cause v. Billups

August 10, 2012

In 2005, the Georgia legislature passed a law requiring voters to show photo ID before voting at the polls on Election Day. The ACLU Voting Rights Project and the ACLU of Georgia joined two individual voters and five other non-profit organizations in a lawsuit challenging the law under the 24th Amendment, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Protection Clause, and the state constitution.

After the federal district court blocked the law, ruling that the ID requirement constituted a poll tax, the Georgia legislature amended it in 2006 to allow the state to provide photo IDs at no cost. Following a trial on the amended law, the federal district court ruled against the plaintiffs. Despite evidence that 289,426 registered voters lacked drivers’ licenses or non-driver photo IDs issued by the Department of Driver Services (and that 49% of those voters without IDs were African Americans while only 27.9% of all registered voters were African American), the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed and the Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs’ petition for writ of certiorari.

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