Election officials in Georgia are accusing the Obama administration of "playing politics" with proposed changes to its voting procedures. The state had asked for permission to use Social Security numbers and driver's license data to verify whether voters are U.S. citizens.
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp said Wednesday he plans to sue the Department of Justice to get them to approve the changes. "The Justice Department is denying Georgia's legal requirement to verify the information provided by new voter registration applicants," Kemp said in a statement.
Georgia implemented the voter verification process in April 2007 but since the 2008 presidential election, the Justice Department has twice prevented further use of the process, according to Kemp's office.
Under the Voting Rights Act, Georgia must clear any changes to its voting procedures with the Justice Department. A spokesman for the department did not respond to a request for comment.
In a Feb. 24 letter, Kemp asked the state's attorney general, Democrat Thurbert Baker, to appoint a special assistant attorney general to represent the state in the suit. Kemp also asked Baker to get clearance for a separate provision that requires new registrants in Georgia to prove U.S. citizenship with their application.
This would be Georgia's third attempt to implement its new voter registration requirements.
Meanwhile, Obama will travel to Georgia next month as part of the White House's Main Street Tour.