Division of Justice sues Georgia over electoral legislation

The Justice Department is suing Georgia state attorney general over its controversial new law that imposes a series of electoral restrictions Merrick garlandMerrick GarlandDid Trump defeat the system? Biden government withdraws death penalty applications in seven cases MORE Announced Friday.

“Today the Justice Department is suing the state of Georgia,” Garland said. “Our complaint alleges that recent changes to the electoral law of Georgia were made with the aim of denying or restricting the right to vote for black Georgians based on race or skin color, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”

Georgia Law SB 202, passed along the party line in a matter of hours in March, puts restrictions on what constituencies say will fall most heavily on minorities: it sets new requirements for postal voting ID cards, limits mailboxes and even bars distribute food and water to those who stand in line to vote.

The lawsuit is the Justice Department’s first to challenge an influx of state laws that they say will restrict access to voting, with the case largely based on allegations that Georgia law passed with racially discriminatory intent became.

In a speech earlier this month, Garland referred to 14 “new laws that make voting harder” and promised to “review current laws and practices to see if they discriminate against black voters and other colored voters.”

Kristen ClarkeKristen ClarkeJustice Department Sues Georgia Over Election Law Watch Live: Garland and Clarke Hold Press Conference Announcing Suffrage Pavlich: Biden Cannot Ignore The Removal Of Police Contributions To Increase In Violent Crime MORE, the first Black woman to serve as assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, outlined a number of features of the law that violate Section 2’s prohibition on discrimination based on race, color, or linguistic minority group.

Clarke said everything from the timeline under which the law was passed to targeted voting methods often preferred by black voters who break the law.

“The House of Representatives had less than two hours of floor debate in front of the Governor about the newly inflated SB 202 [Brian] Kemp (R) signed a bill the same day. These legislative moves came at a time when Georgia’s black population is steadily growing and after a historic election that saw record voter turnouts across the state, particularly postal voting, which black voters are now more likely to use than white voters. “

Clarke highlighted other problematic provisions of the law, including an “irrationally curtailed” deadline for requesting a postal vote – which makes it harder to get a ballot closer to election day – and another that reduces the number of post box locations voters can use return them.

In the Atlanta area, home to a heavily black population, the dropbox count is projected to decrease from 100 to 20.

“The regulations we are contesting reduce access to postal voting at every step of the process, leading more black voters to vote in person, where they are more likely to face long lines than white voters,” she said while civic groups were locked down would benefit from the distribution of food and water to the snakes.

“This unnecessary ban was issued with unlawful discriminatory intent,” she said.

Georgia Republicans argued the law was necessary to protect the integrity of the elections. Its swift passage of the law was followed by a loss from earlier ones President TrumpDivision of Justice sues Georgia over electoral legislationDonald TrumpTrump welcomes the Arizona Senate for consideration at the Phoenix rally and criticizes the Arkansas governor for making vaccinations “political” in the state, followed by allegations of election fraud by Trump, along with a phone call from him to the Georgian Foreign Secretary asking him to “find” the President’s vote.

“This lawsuit is born out of the lies and misinformation that the Biden government pushed against Georgia’s electoral integrity law from the start,” Kemp said in a statement, calling the lawsuit part of an “extreme left agenda.”

“As Secretary of State, I fought the Obama Justice Department twice to protect the security of our elections – and won. I look forward to going three on three to make sure Georgia is easy to vote and hard to cheat. “

But Clarke and Garland argued the bill wasn’t passed in a vacuum.

It also followed the historic participation of black voters in a state where the GOP lost its stronghold.

A review of pending federal law by the Brennan Center for Justice revealed a wave of restrictive voting bills warning that activity is surpassing other years, leaving “the United States is well on its way to its most recent period of substantial voter suppression surpass “. . “

Garland pointed to the influx of laws in an appeal to Congress to reintroduce Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), which gave the DOJ pre-investigative powers and allowed them to review laws before going into states with one History of voter discrimination went into effect.

Georgia law has been blocked many times by the DOJ until the Supreme Court ruling in the 2013 Shelby Co. v Holder ruling was removed from the VRA.

“The department blocked over 175 proposed electoral laws across Georgia because they failed the legal test,” Garland said of the preclearance practice.

“If Georgia had still been covered by Section 5, SB 202 would probably never have come into force. We urge Congress to restore this invaluable tool. “

The lawsuit was announced along with another Justice Department initiative to combat mounting threats against local election officials. A memo from Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco sets up a task force for the entire FBI, as well as the DOJ’s Criminal Division, Civil Rights Division, and National Security Division.

“A threat to any election official, worker or volunteer is basically a threat to democracy. We will promptly and vigorously pursue criminals to protect the rights of American voters, punish those who engage in this criminal behavior and send the clear message that such behavior will not be tolerated, ”Monaco wrote in the memo .

Updated at 12:32 p.m.