The chief sponsor of Georgia's voter identification law told the Justice Department that if black people in her district "are not paid to vote, they don't go to the polls," and that if fewer blacks vote as a result of the new law, it is only because it would end such voting fraud.
It's pretty tough to find more blatant racism from an elected politician.
All laws that might affect minority voting strength in the south require Justice Department approval. And indeed, career DOJ employees reviewed the bill and recommended it be rejected as falling disproportionately on minorities. But (surprise, surprise), political appointees from the Bush administration overruled them and approved the law.
According to Legal Fiction, the burden put on Georgia by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act makes it nearly impossible for an honest attorney to say this law meets it:
Under Section 5, Georgia therefore has to get changes to its voting laws "pre-cleared" by the DOJ. The state has the burden of showing that any new measure will not have a negative effect on minority voting. The new measure doesn't have to be intentionally discriminatory - it's an "effects" test. A negative impact on minorities is enough to make it illegal.
LF quotes the Post as saying the following:
The program requires voters to obtain one of six forms of photo identification before going to the polls, as opposed to 17 types of identification currently allowed. Those without a driver's license or other photo identification are required to obtain a special digital identification card, which would cost $20 for five years and could be obtained from motor vehicle offices in only 59 of the state's 159 counties.
Given the way race and poverty are tied together, there is no way to argue this won't have a negative impact on minorities.
LF says that the attorneys in the DOJ who approved the law aren't racist so much as they don't really care about racism. I'll grant there is a distinction, but it's small consolation to those who are forced to live with the effects of their apathy. The only good news is that I cannot imagine this surviving a court challenge.