February 2, 2009

Handel supports Williams' legislation

Submitted by the secretary of state's office

ATLANTA — Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel today announced her support of legislation that would require voter registration applicants to provide proof of their United States citizenship. Current law only requires those registering to vote to "swear or affirm" that they are a U.S. citizen by checking a box on the application.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Roger Williams (R-Dalton) and Sen. Cecil Staton (R-Macon), would require those registering to vote after January 1, 2010 to submit one of several forms of proof of U.S. citizenship with their application. These include a driver's license, birth certificate, U.S. passport, U.S. naturalization documents or Bureau of Indian Affairs card. Any person who registered to vote prior to January 1, 2010 will not be required to submit evidence of citizenship, unless that person updates their voter registration from one county to another after that date.

"I want to thank Representative Williams and Senator Staton for working with me on this important issue and for sponsoring this common sense measure. This law will prevent non-citizens from registering to vote and ultimately voting in Georgia's elections. I also want to thank the many House and Senate members who have co-sponsored the bill," Secretary Handel said.

"This additional voter registration safeguard will make Georgia's elections among the most secure in the nation," Rep. Williams said.

"This legislation will prevent voter fraud and strengthen the integrity of Georgia's elections," Sen. Staton said. Staton also introduced and helped enact Georgia's law requiring voters to show a photo ID when casting their ballot in person.

Secretary Handel has implemented and successfully defended numerous initiatives to protect Georgia's elections, including the state's system to verify the information provided on a voter registration application; the voter identification requirement for in-person voting; and the triple signature check requirement on absentee ballots.