Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Deputy Secretary of State Testifies on Photo Identification Requirement at U.S. Senate Committee Hearing

Deputy Secretary of State Rob Simms today testified on Georgia’s photo identification requirement for in-person voting before the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee. Deputy Secretary Simms appeared before the Committee at the request of Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

“In-person voter fraud has in fact occurred in Georgia, and our state’s photo identification law has been successfully implemented and enforced without incident, controversy and, most importantly, without a negative impact on Georgia’s voters,” said Simms. He cited a 2000 Atlanta Journal-Constitution report which found that more than 5,000 votes had been cast in the names of deceased voters over the prior 20 years.

Simms also cited the September 2007 ruling by United States District Court Judge Harold T. Murphy, a President Jimmy Carter appointee to the bench, which upheld Georgia’s photo identification law. Judge Murphy’s ruling recognized the state’s interest in passing a photo identification law to prevent fraud.
Chairwoman Feinstein later asked the panel for comments on steps taken to prevent absentee voting fraud.

Simms detailed two proactive measures taken by Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel. This year, Secretary Handel is working with the General Assembly to pass legislation that will require signature verifications of both the absentee ballot application and the absentee ballot against the voter’s registration card. In 2007, Secretary Handel worked with the Georgia General Assembly and Governor Perdue to increase the maximum penalty for absentee voting fraud, making all types of voting fraud a felony.

Simms added, “If you’re going to commit voter fraud in the State of Georgia, you’re going to pay serious consequences.”

The hearing video can be found on the U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee’s website:

Deputy Secretary of State Simms’ testimony can be found on the Secretary of State’s Election Division page:
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