Georgia’s new voter suppression laws are getting attention — this time from the United States Department of Justice. The DOJ, under Attorney General Merrick Garland, plans to sue the state of Georgia over Georgia State Bill 202.
Three months ago, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed SB 202 to change Georgia’s election laws, after the legislation passed the Republican-controlled Georgia state government. Attorney General Garland noted that the bill violates the support provisions of the Voters’ Rights Act that address minority voters.
“Where we see violations of federal law, we will act,” AG Garland confirmed at a news conference. Following up, he stated that the law was enacted “with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color.”
Georgia law creates barriers to voting
SB 202 creates several barriers to voting, including mandatory voter ID requirements for absentee ballots, limiting drop box voting, and — the most controversial and inhumane aspect — prohibiting citizens from providing food and water to voters waiting in line to reach the polls.
The Civil Rights Division leader at the United States Department of Justice, Kristen Clarke, said the new Georgia law unfairly targets Black and minority voters. “These legislative actions occurred at a time when the Black population in Georgia continues to steadily increase and after a historic election that saw record voter turnout across the state, particularly for absentee voting, which Black voters are now more likely to use than White voters,” Ms. Clarke said during a news conference announcing the litigation. “Our complaint challenges several provisions of SB 202 on the grounds that they were adopted with the intent to deny Black citizens equal access to the political process.”
GOP hits back, says Biden “weaponizing” DOJ
Meanwhile, the GOP is ready for a fight to keep Black and Brown citizens from voting. In a statement, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said, “After failing to sell the partisan federal election takeover known as H.R.1 to the American people, Joe Biden is now weaponizing the Justice Department.”
The case against the state of Georgia is merely the first in the Biden administration’s plans to address voter suppression tactics that are being enacted in several states across the country. Currently 17 state Governors have signed over 20 laws that restrict voting rights under the guise of “protecting election integrity.”