Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the lawsuit on Friday.

ATLANTA – Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Friday that the US government would sue the state of Georgia to nullify parts of the voting law passed earlier this year.

Since Governor Brian Kemp signed the bill in March, it has been targeted by Democrats, who viciously criticized it as an attack on voting rights and the equivalent of “Jim Crow 2.0”.

On Friday, the Justice Department effectively supported this line of criticism.

RELATED: Department of Justice Announces Lawsuit Against Georgia Over New Electoral Law

Federal officials made it clear in both a morning press conference and in published documents that they see Georgia’s electoral law as an explicit attempt to minimize the participation of black voters.

Garland said the law, SB 202, was “enacted with the aim of denying or restricting the voting rights of black Georgians based on race or color”.

A press release issued by the DoJ stated that the purpose of the lawsuit was to stop “racially discriminatory provisions” in the law, and in a fact sheet, the DoJ claims in its lawsuit that “the cumulative and discriminatory effects of these laws – especially among blacks Voters – was known to the legislature and that the legislature adopted the law anyway. “

In a word, the government calls Georgia’s electoral law racist. The lawsuit is intended to prevent much of it from being implemented.

Georgia Republican officials – including Governor Brian Kemp and State Secretary Brad Raffensperger – have vigorously denied this. Kemp said in a statement the lawsuit was based on “lies and misinformation”.

In response to the lawsuit, Governor Kemp held a press conference in Savannah at 4 p.m. on Friday.

“Let me make it clear, the DOJ lawsuit announced here today is legally and constitutionally completely wrong. Your mistakes and faceless accusations are honestly disgusting, but I can’t say I’m surprised, ”he said.

“That’s the truth, SB202 ensures that the Georgia elections are safe, accessible, and fair. It expands access to early elections, ensures that mailboxes in every county are available and secured around the clock, ”continued Governor Kemp. “It implements a voter ID for absentee voting, which almost every poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans have the support.”

Governor Kemp also said at the conference that he will not give in.

For its part, the government has set out the precise provisions of the law to which it objects in the leaflet:

  • “A provision that prohibits government agencies from distributing unsolicited postal voting requests.”
  • “The imposition of costly and burdensome fines on civic organizations, churches and advocacy groups that distribute follow-up requests for postal ballot papers.”
  • “The shortening of the deadline for applying for postal voting documents to 11 days before the election day.”
  • “The requirement that voters who do not have a Georgia Department of Driver Services-issued ID photocopy another form of ID to request a postal vote without allowing the last four digits of a Social Security number to be used for such requests.
  • “Significant restrictions on the use of postal voting boxes by the counties.”
  • “The ban on efforts by churches and civic groups to provide food or water to people standing in long lines before a choice.”
  • “The ban on the counting of preliminary ballot papers submitted before 5 p.m. on election day.”

The lawsuit is also reportedly aimed at restoring federal oversight of the Georgia electoral law by asking the state to obtain federal clearance to make changes to the electoral law.

Georgia and several other states were previously subject to these preliminary screening requirements under a provision of the 1965 Voting Act, but the Supreme Court decision in the Shelby v. 2013 Holder stated that pre-screening was no longer required, thereby releasing those states from the requirement.

It will now be up to a federal court to decide how the Georgian electoral law goes on, with the potential to bring voting rights issues to the Supreme Court again.