In a statement, Attorney General Merrick Garland suggested that Georgia’s new electoral integrity law targeted and deliberately targeted black voters.
The Federal Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Georgia alleging the state’s recently passed electoral law violates the protection of minority voting rights.
“If we find violations of federal law, we will act,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.
Garland, says CNBC, suggested that Georgia’s electoral reform law “was enacted with the aim of denying or restricting the voting rights of black Georgians based on race or skin color, in violation of Section 2 of the Suffrage Act.”
Garland said the complaint will be “the first of many steps we are taking to ensure that all eligible voters can cast a vote”.
According to POLITICO, Georgia’s electoral integrity law was passed on party lines and recently enacted by State Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican. The law requires voters to produce ID to request a postal vote and shortens the deadline for requesting a postal vote. It also codified the use of mailboxes for ballot papers in state law, while severely restricting the use of mailboxes in Atlanta – a predominantly black and democratic city.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp in 2019. Image via Wikimedia Commons Credited As: US Army National Guard Photo by Spc. Tori Miller. Public domain.
Interestingly, the Election Integrity Act expands early personal voting for many of Georgia’s smaller, more conservative counties without changing policy for the more populous, more advanced counties.
Kristin Clarke, head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said Georgia’s new law will disproportionately harm black voters by making it difficult for them to vote.
“The regulations we are contesting reduce access to postal voting at every step of the process and push more black voters to face-to-face voting, which is more likely than white voters to have long lines,” she said.
POLITICO notes that while lawsuits can invoke the 1965 Voting Act just because laws or policies are likely to have a disproportionate impact on minority voters, the Justice Department’s complaint explicitly alleges that Georgia’s law is deliberately discriminatory. In other words, the federal government assumes that Georgia made a conscious decision to deprive black residents of their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote.
However, Governor Kemp has insisted that the Justice Department’s lawsuit is unfounded and politically motivated.
“This lawsuit is born out of the lies and misinformation that the Biden government has urged against Georgia’s electoral integrity law from the outset,” Kempt said in a statement.
“Joe Biden, Stacey Abrams and their allies tried to force an unconstitutional seizure of power by Congress through elections – and they failed. Now they are arming the US Department of Justice to implement their far-left agenda that undermines electoral integrity and strengthens the supremacy of the federal government in our democracy, ”he added.
The Biden government is suing Georgia for its GOP voting restrictions
Biden DOJ is suing Georgia over new election restrictions