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The Department of Justice is Suing Georgia Over its New Voting Law

The Biden administration is going after the state of Georgia in a new lawsuit that alleges the state’s new voting law aims to restrict the rights of Black voters.

On Friday, Attorney General Merrick Garland made the announcement that marks the first of such federal government challenges to go against Republican-backed efforts currently taking place in multiple states to tighten voting laws.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the suit accuses the state of violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Earlier this year, Georgia enacted changes to its state’s eligibility requirements, which include changing how people cast absentee ballots and where they can drop off their ballots.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed the new law in March after the state’s GOP-dominated legislature passed it. Evidently, Republicans agreed that the changes were needed to restore state voters’ confidence and keep the integrity of Georgia elections following the tumultuous political season.

“Many of that law’s provisions make it hard for people to vote,” Garland stated. “the rights of all eligible citizens to vote are the central pillars of our democracy.”

Georgia Republicans quickly slammed the federal lawsuit. “This lawsuit is born out of the lies and misinformation the Biden administration has pushed against Georgia’s Election Integrity Act from the start,” Gov. Kemp stated on Twitter.

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston also spoke against the lawsuit: “Georgia’s Election Integrity Act makes voting more accessible and secure. We will vigorously defend our system of free and fair elections.”

The Justice Department’s lawsuit specifically targets Georgia’s SB 2020 section that made changes to absentee voting, including those that prohibit election officials from distributing unsolicited absentee ballots and those that limit the number of drop boxes for those ballots.

The DOJ supports its allegations by claiming Black voters are more likely to use those provisions than white voters. Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act says states can’t impose any rule “which results in a denial or abridgment” of the right to vote based on race, the outlet reported.

“Like all of the provisions in SB 202, the changes to absentee voting were not made in a vacuum. These changes come immediately after successful absentee voting in the 2020 election cycle, especially among Black voters,” Kristen Clarke, the assistant attorney general for the civil rights division, said.

Two days ago, Senate Republicans prevented Democrats from going ahead with elections legislation, forcing them to try to find a new way to go forward after weeks of intraparty wrangling and dead-end calls from progressives to advance the bill without the bill GOP’s support.

A couple of weeks ago, Garland said his agency would scrutinize a raft of new state election laws. He also referenced studies that he says showed that in some jurisdictions, nonwhite voters have to wait in line significantly longer than their white counterparts when it’s time to cast their ballots.

A new task force will also be created to address increased violent threats aimed at state election officials.

Georgia’s changes to its voting procedures come after key election losses by Republicans. The GOP has dominated Georgia politics for decades, but recently, Democratic turnout has grown, particularly in Atlanta’s growing suburbs.

author avatar
Crystal Gross
Crystal joined BallerAlert in 2020 to renew her passion for writing. She is a Kentucky native who now lives in the heart of Atlanta. She enjoys reading, politics, traveling, and of course writing.

About Crystal Gross

Crystal joined BallerAlert in 2020 to renew her passion for writing. She is a Kentucky native who now lives in the heart of Atlanta. She enjoys reading, politics, traveling, and of course writing.

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