Georgia Unfiltered

Search This Site

24 February 2010

Secretary of State Brian Kemp Takes On Obama's Justice Dept.

Tuesday, I introduced a new phrase into the lexicon of Georgia politics - legislating from the bureaucracy.

That four word phrase came about as I detailed the slippery slope Justice Department officials would be on if they decided that allowing the people of Georgia to vote on re-creating a "historically existing county which was merged into another county" would constitute a violation of the voting rights act. If the Department of Justice rejected a vote on re-creating historically existing counties, I said, then they would be an activist Justice Department legislating from the bureaucracy.

Ironically, Secretary of State Brian Kemp chose Tuesday to announce that he was fed up with the Department of Justice repeatedly blocking the enforcement of a new law that would require proof of citizenship when registering to vote. Although Kemp did not use the words "legislating from the bureaucracy," he seemed to strongly suggest that was what was happening.

"The State of Georgia will no longer watch the Obama Justice Department play politics with our election processes and protections. The Justice Department is denying Georgia’s legal requirement to verify the information provided by new voter registration applicants," said Secretary Kemp. "The voter verification process and Senate Bill 86 are common sense measures to ensure voter registration applicants are who they say they are, and that applicants are U.S. citizens."

Secretary of State Brian Kemp said that as a result of the Justice Department continuing to hold up Senate Bill 86, Georgia will exercise its right to seek preclearance of the voter verification process by bringing an action for a declaratory judgment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. An appeal, if necessary, would go directly to the United States Supreme Court.

Georgia is a state that is covered under Section 5 of the voting rights act. Any changes to election law must be approved before going into effect. Usually, approval is obtained through an administrative review by the Department of Justice. However, Secretary Kemp is demonstrating that there is another way; taking it to court.