ATLANTA — A federal appeals court refused Thursday to let Georgia demand photo identification from all voters at the polls.
Last week, a federal judge barred the state from enforcing the new photo ID law during local elections next month, saying it amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax that could prevent poor people, blacks and the elderly from voting. The state asked the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the stay, but it declined.
Under the law, voters would have to show either a driver's license or a state-issued photo ID, which can cost as much as $35.
Previously, voters could show Social Security cards, birth certificates or utility bills. Supporters of the new law, including Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, argued that it would help prevent fraud.
Civil rights groups and voting rights activists joined in challenging the law.