WASHINGTON – US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday that the Justice Department is suing Georgia for repealing a comprehensive electoral law passed in March a legal challenge which claims the new law violates the federal electoral law.

The federal lawsuit is the latest in a series of challenges Senate Act 202which, among other changes, would limit postal voting, introduce new voter identification requirements, and make it illegal for volunteers to distribute food and water to those waiting in long lines to cast their ballots.

“Many provisions of this law make it difficult for people to vote,” Garland said during a press conference on Friday.

“The complaint alleges that the state imposed these restrictions in order to deny or abbreviate the right to vote based on race or skin color.”

The legal process follows an announcement earlier this month that the DOJ would double its enforcement attorneys who advocate the protection of voting rights, with Garland promising the agency would “consider new laws aimed at restricting voter access”.

Senior Republican officials in Georgia strongly opposed the DOJ’s allegations of racial discrimination in the lawsuit and promised a tough defense against what they believed to be “lies”.

Governor Brian Kemp responded to the lawsuit’s announcement to blow up the file as “born of lies and misinformation” sponsored by President Joe Biden’s administration. Kemp said filing the lawsuit was in response to Democrats in Congress failed own overarching federal electoral legislation.

“Let me make it clear that the DOJ’s lawsuit announced today is legally and constitutionally wrong,” Kemp said during a press conference on Friday afternoon in Savannah. “Your false and unfounded allegations are frankly disgusting, but I can’t say I’m surprised. The president and his administration. Stacey Abrams and her far-left allies lied about the electoral integrity law from the start. “

Republican supporters of the Georgian electoral revision argue that the legislation improves the security of the postal voting system and that mandating an extra weekend election day and more public notices of change of location would give some Georgians more choice.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr will lead the defense on the case where Georgia State, the state electoral body, and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger are listed as defendants. Republican Carr called the lawsuit a political stunt.

“The Justice Department is factually, legally and constitutionally wrong,” Carr said in a statement. “Georgia’s law clearly strengthens security, broadens access and improves transparency in our elections. It is disappointing for those of us who respect the rule of law because this is not a lawsuit, it is a political campaign flyer. “

Democrats and constituencies have blown the law, saying it will severely deprive many Georgians, especially minority voters, people with disabilities and the elderly, the right to vote.

The federal lawsuit filed in the Northern District of Georgia joins seven other federal lawsuits from civil and voting rights organizations alleging that Georgia’s new postal voting ID requirements, mailbox box restrictions, and other changes violate federal electoral law.

Atlanta suffrage attorney Bryan Sells said it was a big deal that the Justice Department is fighting against large chunks of Georgian suffrage.

The lawsuit is specifically directed against Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which in recent years has focused in federal court proceedings on whether minority voters have been disenfranchised by regulations on postal votes, preliminary votes and more.

The department’s lawsuit will have no immediate impact on the provisions of SB 202, which have already become law or will become law on July 1, Sells said.

“There is no way of predicting how DOJ involvement might affect the timing of the case,” Sells said. “It could slow things down or speed things up. But all suits move when they contract, probably at about the same speed. “

Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the DOJ, outlined a number of provisions of the Georgia law that the DOJ’s complaint was accepted with the intent of denying black voters access to the polls.

These include changes that restrict access to postal voting – such as fewer mailboxes and a reduced deadline for applying for ballots – which Clarke said will encourage more black voters to cast their ballots in person, “where they are more likely to be confronted than whites Voters ”. long lines.

“Other changes to the statute will reduce the likelihood that voters who appear in the wrong district will count their ballots, which disproportionately affects black voters,” she said.

Clarke said the new lawsuit is a signal that the DOJ “stands ready to protect the constitutionally guaranteed voting rights of Americans in Georgia and wherever those rights may be threatened in our country.”

Republican-controlled parliaments in 17 states have passed 28 new laws that proponents and Democrats say will make it harder for people of color to vote, they said Brennan Center for Justice, a research institute. These include Georgia and Florida.

Congressional Democrats also held a variety of hearings in the House and Senate on voting rights and have listened to concerns about Republican-led efforts to introduce and pass voting restrictions.

Garland reiterated his call for Congress to restore a preliminary clarification that states with historical practices of racial discrimination obtain federal approval before making changes to their electoral laws. This mandate was in a 2013 Supreme Court decision.

Garland added that if this section of the Federal Voting Act were still in effect, “it likely would never have come into effect that SB 202 would have come into effect”.

In late March, Georgia Republicans kept their pre-legislative pledges, new ones Voting Act to Restore Confidence In what they said is a broken electoral system that caused supporters of former President Donald Trump to express doubts about the 2020 election results.

The bill met fierce opposition from Democratic lawmakers and numerous constituencies, and on Friday the Black Caucus welcomed the Georgia Legislature to Garland, who is suing Georgia for passing SB 202.

“As we have stated on countless occasions, this bill was an unjustified retaliatory response to a 2020 presidential election that saw record numbers of African Americans and other worrying communities voting,” said Georgia Black Caucus Chairwoman Senator Tonya Anderson.

State House spokesman David Ralston, a Republican for Blue Ridge, praised Georgia’s SB 202 for making “voting more accessible and secure,” while Raffensperger also blamed Abrams and Biden for spreading misinformation.

Raffensperger has repeatedly defended the new electoral law, although it deposed the State Secretary as a voting member of the state election committee.

But he has supported other issues, including the requirement for ID to be able to vote by post and the arrangement of post boxes in each county.

“It is no surprise that they operationalize their lies with the full force of the federal government,” Raffensperger said of the new lawsuit. “I look forward to meeting you and beating you in court.”

At the other end of the spectrum, organizations like the ACLU of Georgia and the Abrams-led Fair Fight praised the Justice Department’s challenge to Georgia’s electoral law.

Federal prosecutors will dedicate strong resources to fighting Georgia’s new law, said Andrea Young, executive director of the Georgia ACLU.

“The Justice Department now has leaders with tremendous experience in enforcing civil rights, and we are delighted to have them fight alongside our democracy,” she said.