Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle told reporters today a measure to amend the Georgia Constitution to clear the way for a controversial photo voter ID requirement will not come to the Senate floor for a vote.
Senate Resolution 4, sponsored by Sen. Cecil Staton (R-Macon), was assigned to a Senate committee Thursday. If approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate and House, and then by Georgia voters in a statewide referendum, SR 4 would allow the General Assembly to enact regulations over voting, including a future photo ID requirement.
Past attempts by the Legislature to enact photo ID at the polls have been struck down by state and federal courts. A Fulton superior court judge last year ruled that the Legislature lacked the authority in the state Constitution to pass laws restricting the right to vote to only those who hold picture ID.
On Thursday, Sen. Kasim Reed (D-Atlanta) predicted that another bitter, divisive fight over photo ID in the General Assembly would harm the newly-inaugurated lieutenant governor’s efforts at bi-partisanship.
In a question-and-answer session in his office today with reporters, Cagle said he supports the voter ID requirement, but he said he doesn’t believe SR 4 can gain the required two-thirds majority in the Senate.
“If you don’t have the votes, it’s not worth the fight,” said Cagle, who has appointed three Democrats to chair Senate committees. “I’m not pushing it. I’m not interested in bringing bills to the floor … if there’s no possibility of it passing.”
Cagle, the presiding officer in the Senate, said he doesn’t want to push a vote on the floor of the chamber simply to force legislators to take a stand on the issue, which has been championed by Republicans.
“I want this body to be a deliberative body and I want everyone’s voice to matter,” Cagle said. “We’re not going to cause people to walk the plank if the votes aren’t there.”
The court cases over photo voter ID in both state and federal court are still pending.