Georgia was one of the first states to require a government ID at polling places. More recently, Georgia passed a law requiring proof of citizenship be show when registering to vote, and has cut the number of early voting days by more than half.
Voter ID Law
Voters in Georgia must produce a government-issued photo ID to exercise the right to vote. For students currently enrolled in a state school, a student ID is acceptable. Voters with no other acceptable form of ID can get a free ID card if they certify that they have no other form of ID and need one in order to vote. But getting the free ID can still be costly and time-consuming. Twenty per cent of Georgia citizens live more than ten miles from the nearest ID issuing office, citizens without a birth certificate on hand must pay $25 for a new copy, and non-English speaking citizens must take the required affidavit to one of a handful of approved translation centers in the state.
Proof of Citizenship Law
In 2009, Georgia passed a law requiring newly registering voters to present proof of citizenship before their applications can be approved. Acceptable proof includes state issued ID numbers, passports, and birth certificates or naturalization papers, as well as any other document specified by federal immigration law. Because no state, including Georgia, has proved non-citizen voting to be a serious or even occasional problem, this law does no good, and imposes a substantial burden on exercising the right to vote, with the highest burden falling on those least likely to have ready access to these documents, such as low-income voters and the elderly.
This year the Georgia legislature shortened the early voting period from 45 to 21 days before elections. Although this is still a relatively large early-voting window, the law only requires polls to open once for Saturday voting. Weekend voting opportunities are invaluable for working voters whose other commitments prohibit them from reaching the polls during the week. Georgia has no early voting on the three days before Election Day.
The law gives counties a great deal of flexibility in determining how to structure their early voting periods. County-specific information on early voting can be found here: http://sos.ga.gov/elections/CountyContacts/AdvanceVotingDisplay.aspx.