What could go wrong in Georgia? – Motor Voter and acceptance of non-citizen ID at the polls
D.A. King is president of the Dustin Inman Society
Two years ago today, IAG ran a short column here from this writer that began with “the driver’s license Georgia issues to non-citizens – including illegal aliens who have already been ordered deported – is acceptable and “proper identification” when casting a ballot.” Amazingly, that statement is as true now as it was then.
When I voted in Cobb County Wednesday I once again asked the very nice staffer who took my drivers license after asking me for identification if she would have accepted it if it read “limited term” across the top. I had to repeat myself and it was clear she had never heard that description before.
When I made my question clear, she replied that they accept any and all Georgia drivers licenses. Even if they have “LIMITED TERM” across the top. Her supervisor confirmed the answer to my question.
For those who haven’t read or re-read the 2018 column, the Georgia Department of Driver’s Services (DDS) issues non-citizens drivers licenses and ID Cards that vary from the ones issued to U.S. citizens only in wording across the top reading “LIMITED TERM.” It should be noted that in addition to legitimate guest workers and foreign students this includes a variety of illegal aliens who have been issued a work-permit. It should also be noted that non-citizens – of any immigration status – are not supposed to vote in Georgia.
“Limited Term” Driver’s License
So why doesn’t state law make it clear that the default driving and ID credentials only given to aliens cannot legally be used or accepted at the polls? The weak and quiet answer to that question is usually that non-citizens cannot legally register to vote so we shouldn’t concern ourselves with details on voter’s ID offered at the ballot box.
Considering the “Motor Voter” automatic registration system now implemented in Georgia it seems fair to ask for a belt and suspenders on this one.
The left-tilted GPB reported Georgia’s “motor voter law,” in February with “which means when you go to the DMV, the Department of Driver Services, and do any sort of anything, your voter registration is updated.”
“Georgia led the country in the next number of those motor voter interactions with well over 3.5 million. The number of people registered in Georgia increased by nearly a million voters from 2014 to 2018 according to the GPB report.
What could go wrong, right? We point to a 2019 Pew report on California Motor Voter as one example: “But DMV officials later found more than 100,000 registration errors in the first year, including some voters registered to the wrong party. And at least one noncitizen (state officials still are investigating how many in total) was accidentally signed up — a significant error since non-citizens aren’t allowed to vote.”
Outgoing state Rep. Jeff Jones (R-St. Simons Island) dropped legislation (HB270) at the beginning of the 2019 General Assembly session that would have excluded the drivers license issued to foreigners from the state law on proper identification presented to poll workers. The legislation had an impressive list of cosponsors but never saw so much as a hearing. Thank you for trying, Rep. Jones.
Another needed fix is changing the default state ID credentials issued to foreigners to clearly illustrate the non-citizen status (not to mention legal/illegal immigration status).
We hope the legislature does this simple fix in 2021. Change the laws.
Non-citizen ID should not be “proper ID” at Georgia polls.