Georgia State Rep. Charlice Byrd (R-Woodstock) has defended voter integrity legislation she’s filed that would require non-U.S. citizens to have “BEARER NOT A U.S. CITIZEN — NOT VOTER ID” printed on their driver’s licenses, permits.
This, even though Georgia officials said at an Election Integrity Committee hearing late last week that they already have a system in place to stop non-citizens from voting.
But Byrd said Georgia has “an obligation to do everything possible to create a high level of confidence” among voters.
“Currently, there is nothing in state law that prohibits a driver’s license or an ID card issued to foreign nationals from being regarded as a proper identification at our polls when photo ID is presented. [This bill] HB 228 contains language to amend the law. Many Georgians may be surprised to learn Georgia issues a drivers and official ID credential to non-citizens that are nearly identical to what many voters use as their official ID to vote,” Byrd said.
“I have heard objections to this very popular concept that say non-citizens cannot register to vote so there is no need for my concern of this loophole. I disagree and point to the problems in the use of the Motor Voter registration system in other states reported by The Associated Press, NPR, and the Pew Center.”
Current Georgia law, Byrd went on to say, says people may offer a driver’s license, a valid Georgia ID, and passports to present to poll workers when voting.
“The law does not explicitly exclude the driver’s license or ID cards the Department of Driver Services issues to non-citizens of any description,” Byrd said.
“I want to add another degree of security to the actual voting process.”
State officials, however, said Georgia has a citizens’ check requirement to confirm that people are who they say they are.
Georgia Department of Driver Services Director of Governmental Affairs and Communications Shevondah Leslie told committee members that her agency has several system checks in place to verify whether someone is a U.S. citizen and, if not, to prevent them from registering to vote.
As The Georgia Star News reported last week, Byrd (R-Woodstock) said this week that she suspects certain of the state’s business interests are working behind the scenes to kill her Voter ID legislation. She also said State Rep. Bonnie Rich (R-Suwanee) is working to block Byrd’s legislation in a Special Committee on Election Integrity subcommittee. When asked, Byrd said she was referring to officials at the Atlanta-based Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Metro Atlanta Chamber.
“I assume that they think it [the bill] will stop Green Card people from coming into our state to work or anyone else that they are constantly talking about,” Byrd said.
Byrd went on to say that these business interests “are always talking about the employee shortage for the state of Georgia when we do these sorts of bills.”
No one at either the Georgia Chamber of Commerce or the Metro Atlanta Chamber has returned The Star News’ requests for comment on the matter.
Rich also has not returned our requests for comment.
– – –