ATLANTA (WSAV) — The Justice Department is suing Georgia over the state’s new election law, alleging it’s designed to make it harder for Black people to vote.
The suit, announced Friday by Attorney General Merrick Garland, challenges the law’s new limits on absentee voting and the reduction in ballot drop boxes.
“Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s election law were enacted to bridge the rights of Black Georgians to vote in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act,” Garland said.
“Where we believe the civil rights of Americans have been violated, we will not hesitate to act,” he continued.
Republicans pushed back immediately, saying the new law is fair and prevents voter fraud.
“It’s never been easier to vote, but we also have to the appropriate guard rails and that voters have the confidence in the system,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
Democrats argue it’s voter suppression, and say the new law is retaliation for the state flipping blue.
“From restricting voters’ ability to access absentee ballots to banning the distribution of food and water on hours-long lines, several sections of SB 202 were designed with discriminatory intent and passed with reckless disregard for the rights of minority voters,” Rep. Nikema Williams, chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia, stated, in part.
Instead of the old signature match process, Georgia’s new law also adds a voter ID requirement.
Voting advocacy groups say it’s suppression disguised as reform.
“As a community group on the ground that helps to flip the state, we are disappointed in our state and what’s happening but not deterred by it. We will continue to get people registered, educated and to the polls,” said Deborah Scott, of Georgia Stand-Up.
Gov. Brian Kemp insists the new law will not lead to voter suppression, saying the lawsuit was “born out of lies and disinformation.”
“Let me be clear. The DOJ lawsuit announced today is legally and constitutionally dead wrong,” said Kemp, speaking in Savannah. “Their thoughts and baseless accusations are quite honestly disgusting. But I can’t say that I’m surprised.”
The governor said the Biden administration is trying to weaponize the Department of Justice to carry out a far-left agenda that undermines election integrity.
“The President and his administration, Stacey Abrams and their far-left allies have lied about the election integrity act from the beginning. This is the truth, SB 202 ensures that Georgia elections are secure, accessible and fair. It expands access to early voting, it ensures drop boxes are available in every county and secured around the clock,” said Kemp.
Kemp, who served as Georgia’s Secretary of State from 2010-2018, looked back on his previous disputes with the Department of Justice. Once again, he says he’s ready for battle.
“When I was Secretary of State, I sued the Obama Justice Department twice and won. I look forward to making it three for three against the Justice Department,” Kemp added.
Georgia is one of a string of Republican-controlled states advancing new voter restrictions after former President Donald Trump and his supporters falsely claimed fraud in the 2020 election.