2020 Georgia Code
Title 21 - Elections
Chapter 2 - Elections and Primaries Generally
Article 11 - Preparation for and Conduct of Primaries and Elections
Part 1 - General Provisions
§ 21-2-417. Presentation of Identification to Poll Workers; Form of Proper Identification; Swearing of Statement When Unable to Produce Proper Identification; Provisional Ballots for Those; Penalty for False Statement Under Oath

Universal Citation: GA Code § 21-2-417 (2020)
  1. Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, each elector shall present proper identification to a poll worker at or prior to completion of a voter's certificate at any polling place and prior to such person's admission to the enclosed space at such polling place. Proper identification shall consist of any one of the following:
    1. A Georgia driver's license which was properly issued by the appropriate state agency;
    2. A valid Georgia voter identification card issued under Code Section 21-2-417.1 or other valid identification card issued by a branch, department, agency, or entity of the State of Georgia, any other state, or the United States authorized by law to issue personal identification, provided that such identification card contains a photograph of the elector;
    3. A valid United States passport;
    4. A valid employee identification card containing a photograph of the elector and issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the United States government, this state, or any county, municipality, board, authority, or other entity of this state;
    5. A valid United States military identification card, provided that such identification card contains a photograph of the elector; or
    6. A valid tribal identification card containing a photograph of the elector.
  2. Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, if an elector is unable to produce any of the items of identification listed in subsection (a) of this Code section, he or she shall be allowed to vote a provisional ballot pursuant to Code Section 21-2-418 upon swearing or affirming that the elector is the person identified in the elector's voter certificate. Such provisional ballot shall only be counted if the registrars are able to verify current and valid identification of the elector as provided in subsection (a) of this Code section within the time period for verifying provisional ballots pursuant to Code Section 21-2-419. Falsely swearing or affirming such statement under oath shall be punishable as a felony, and the penalty shall be distinctly set forth on the face of the statement.
  3. An elector who registered to vote by mail, but did not comply with subsection (c) of Code Section 21-2-220, and who votes for the first time in this state shall present to the poll workers either one of the forms of identification listed in subsection (a) of this Code section or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of such elector. If such elector does not have any of the forms of identification listed in this subsection, such elector may vote a provisional ballot pursuant to Code Section 21-2-418 upon swearing or affirming that the elector is the person identified in the elector's voter certificate. Such provisional ballot shall only be counted if the registrars are able to verify current and valid identification of the elector as provided in this subsection within the time period for verifying provisional ballots pursuant to Code Section 21-2-419. Falsely swearing or affirming such statement under oath shall be punishable as a felony, and the penalty shall be distinctly set forth on the face of the statement.

(Code 1981, §21-2-417, enacted by Ga. L. 1997, p. 662, § 3; Ga. L. 1998, p. 295, § 1; Ga. L. 2001, p. 230, § 15; Ga. L. 2003, p. 517, § 48; Ga. L. 2005, p. 253, § 59/HB 244; Ga. L. 2006, p. 3, § 2/SB 84.)

Law reviews.

- For article, "Local Government Law," see 53 Mercer L. Rev. 389 (2001). For article on 2005 amendment of this Code section, see 22 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 109 (2005). For article on 2006 amendment of this Code section, see 23 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 145 (2006). For survey article on trial practice and procedure, see 60 Mercer L. Rev. 397 (2008). For article, "Ethics and Professionalism in the Digital Age: Ninth Annual Georgia Symposium on Ethics and Professionalism: A Symposium of the Mercer Law Review: Casenote: Constitutional Burdens on the Right to Vote: Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, Ian McMullen," see 60 Mercer L. Rev. 1007 (2009). For article, "Reasonable Restrictions on the Franchise: Georgia's Voter Identification Act of 2006," see 63 Mercer L. Rev. 1129 (2012). For note on the 2001 amendment to this Code section, see 18 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 114 (2001).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Constitutionality.

- In an action by a political party challenging the 2006 Photo ID Act, amending O.C.G.A. § 21-2-417, no voter was disenfranchised by the Act and, therefore, the Act did not violate Ga. Const. 1983, Art. II, Sec. I, Para. III. Democratic Party of Ga., Inc. v. Perdue, 288 Ga. 720, 707 S.E.2d 67 (2011).

In an action by a political party challenging the 2006 Photo ID Act, amending O.C.G.A. § 21-2-417, the photo ID requirement for in-person voting was authorized by Ga. Const. 1983, Art. II, Sec. I, Para. I as a reasonable procedure for verifying that the individual appearing to vote in person was actually the same person who registered to vote. Democratic Party of Ga., Inc. v. Perdue, 288 Ga. 720, 707 S.E.2d 67 (2011).

Equal protection.

- Because it was likely that the voting organizations could prevail on the merits of their claims that the photo identification requirement of O.C.G.A. § 21-2-417 violated the equal protection clause, a preliminary injunction was issued preventing its enforcement or application; many voters with no other ID had no transportation to the service centers, impairments precluded waiting in lengthy lines or an inability to travel during business hours, and thus the requirement would be a hardship for many such voters, making the exercise of the fundamental right to vote extremely difficult, especially affecting the elderly, poor, and African-American voters. Common Cause/GA v. Billups, 406 F. Supp. 2d 1326 (N.D. Ga. 2005).

Court enjoined the enforcement of the photo identification requirement of the 2006 Photo ID Act, codified at O.C.G.A. §§ 21-2-417,21-2-417.1, and40-5-103(d), because the requirement unduly burdened the right to vote in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause, at least with respect to the July 18, 2006, primary elections and the corresponding primary run-off elections; the nonprofit organizations and their constituents would have suffered irreparable harm if the court did not grant a preliminary injunction with respect to those elections and, considering the right at issue and the likely injury caused by not entering a preliminary injunction, the threatened harm to the nonprofit organizations outweighed the potential injury to the state and various election officials; finally, entering a preliminary injunction for the elections at issue served the public interest by preserving voting rights. Common Cause/Georgia v. Billups, 439 F. Supp. 2d 1294 (N.D. Ga. 2006).

Permanent injunction barring enforcement of O.C.G.A. § 21-2-417 was properly denied because under the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection clause, the legitimate interest of the state in preventing voter fraud justified the insignificant burden of requiring all voters to present photo identification before the voters voted in person. Common Cause/Georgia v. Billups, 554 F.3d 1340 (11th Cir. 2009), cert. denied, NAACP v. Billups, 556 U.S. 1282, 129 S. Ct. 2770, 174 L. Ed. 2d 271 (2009).

In an action by a political party challenging the 2006 Photo ID Act, amending O.C.G.A. § 21-2-417, the Act did not violate the equal protection clause of Ga. Const. 1983, Art. I, Sec. I, Para. II because the photo ID requirement as implemented was a minimal, reasonable, nondiscriminatory restriction that was warranted by the important regulatory interest of preventing voter fraud. Democratic Party of Ga., Inc. v. Perdue, 288 Ga. 720, 707 S.E.2d 67 (2011).

No standing to challenge constitutionality.

- A plaintiff lacked standing to challenge the constitutionality of the 2006 Photo-ID Act, codified at O.C.G.A. §§ 21-2-417,21-2-417.1 and40-5-103(d), at the time the complaint was filed, and thus the determination that the Act violated Ga. Const. 1983, Art. II, Sec. I, Paras. II and III had to be vacated; the plaintiff could have voted in person under O.C.G.A. § 21-2-417 without a photo identification as the plaintiff did not contend that the plaintiff lacked any of the forms of non-photo identification allowed to be shown by first-time voters. Perdue v. Lake, 282 Ga. 348, 647 S.E.2d 6 (2007).

Organization had standing to challenge.

- Civil rights organization had standing under U.S. Const. Art. III to challenge O.C.G.A. § 21-2-417 requiring voters to present photo identification prior to voting in person because the organization suffered a sufficient injury by forcing the organization to divert resources to counteract allegedly illegal acts. Common Cause/Georgia v. Billups, 554 F.3d 1340 (11th Cir. 2009), cert. denied, NAACP v. Billups, 556 U.S. 1282, 129 S. Ct. 2770, 174 L. Ed. 2d 271 (2009).

Preliminary injunction.

- Because it was likely that voting organizations could prevail on the merits of their claims that the photo identification requirement of O.C.G.A. § 21-2-417 violated the Twenty-Fourth amendment, a preliminary injunction was issued preventing enforcement or application of the requirement; having to buy the photo ID, the cost of which had also increased, placed a cost on voting. Common Cause/GA v. Billups, 406 F. Supp. 2d 1326 (N.D. Ga. 2005).

Invalidation of election reversed on appeal.

- Trial court erred by invalidating an election for sheriff and ordering a new election because the evidence of systemic misconduct for vote buying and alleged wrongful distribution of absentee ballots was speculative and insufficient to support the trial court's conclusion that irregularities cause doubt on the results. Meade v. Williamson, 293 Ga. 142, 745 S.E.2d 279 (2013).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

ALR.

- Constitutionality of requiring presentation of photographic identification in order to vote, 27 A.L.R.6th 541.

Voter identification requirements as denying or abridging right to vote on account of race or color under § 2 of Voting Rights Act, 52 U.S.C.A. § 10301, 12 A.L.R. Fed. 3d 4.

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