The Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing Georgia over its new election laws enacted earlier this year in what may be the first of many lawsuits against GOP-led state election reforms.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the lawsuit on Friday.
“Today, the Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia. Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act,” Garland said in a press conference.
“Several studies show that Georgia experienced record voting turnout and participation rates in the 2020 election cycle. Approximately two-thirds of eligible voters in the state cast a ballot in the November election, just over the national average. This is cause for celebration,” Garland continued. “But then in March of 2021, Georgia’s legislature passed SB 202. Many of that law’s provisions make it harder for people to vote. The complaint alleges that the state enacted those restrictions with the purpose of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race of color.”
BREAKING: Attorney General Garland announces Justice Department is suing Georgia for its new voting laws, which he says "were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote" https://t.co/Nj065CIsxp pic.twitter.com/nUTAIFpG41
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 25, 2021
President Joe Biden and numerous other Democrats have compared the new laws to the racist “Jim Crow” laws of last century. Through their attacks, Biden and Democrats have also spread false claims about the voting reforms, however, such as polls closing at 5 p.m. and a ban on food and drinks at polling places.
The new reforms did not change the closing time at Georgia’s polls on election day, and current law says that as long as a voter is in line by 7 p.m., they must be allowed to cast their ballot. Also, while the new reforms ban activists from handing out “campaign material” that could include water bottles or snacks, the law “shall not be construed to prohibit a poll officer … from making available self-service water from an unattended receptacle to [a voter] waiting in line to vote.”
The misinformation spread about the law has caused significant and undeserved blowback on Georgians, according to Republican Governor Brian Kemp. In early April, Major League Baseball pulled its all-star game and 2021 draft out of Atlanta in protest over the voting reforms. Kemp placed blame for the MLB’s decision at the feet of Biden and Democratic activist Stacey Abrams.
“Today, @MLB caved to fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies,” Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said in a statement at the time. “Georgians – and all Americans – should fully understand what the MLB’s knee-jerk decision means: cancel culture and woke political activists are coming for every aspect of your life, sports included. If the left doesn’t agree with you, facts and the truth do not matter.”
“This attack on our state is the direct result of repeated lies from Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams about a bill that expands access to the ballot box and ensures the integrity of our elections,” Kemp continued. “I will not back down. Georgians will not be bullied. We will continue to stand up for secure, accessible, fair elections. Earlier today, I spoke with the leadership of the Atlanta Braves who informed me they do not support the MLB’s decision.”
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said the attacks on Georgia’s voting reforms are an effort to federalize elections. Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked an attempt by Democrats to push through progressive voting reforms that members of the GOP said would have done just that.