The United States Department of Justice is suing Georgia over the new election law of the state, alleging Republican state representatives rushed through a sweeping refit with an intention to block Black voters from equal access to the vote. On Friday, Merrick Garland, the U.S. Attorney General, said in announcing the lawsuit, they believe that the civil rights of Americans violated, and they will not hesitate to act.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announces the Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia for changing election laws “with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color.” pic.twitter.com/Gi7B4i4zXV
— The Recount (@therecount) June 25, 2021
GOP representatives in Georgia pushed back instantly, vowing a strong defense of Georgia’s law. Moreover, the move of the Biden government comes fifteen days after Garland said his department would examine new laws in GOP-controlled states that stiffen voting rules. The attorney general said the federal administration would take some serious action if prosecutors found illegal activity.
22 Restrictive Laws approved in 14 states until mid-May
The lawsuit also comes as pressure increases on the Biden government to respond to Republican-backed laws pushed in the states this year. Furthermore, this week, the GOP senators blocked the Democratic effort to overhaul election laws. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, as of mid-May, twenty-two restrictive laws approved in at least fourteen states. Brennan department researches voting and supports expanded access.
The mounted enforcement of voting rights laws also signals that U.S. President Joe Biden and Kristen Clarke, the Assistant Attorney General, are making good on a promise to relocate the department around civil rights after an unrestrained four years during the Trump government. Clarke was one of the leading civil rights attorneys of the United States before her nomination to head the department’s civil rights division.
Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of Georgia state, announced that he would contest the suit. Then-president Donald Trump harshly criticized the GOP official and his allies for refusing efforts to challenge the outcome of the vote of the state in the 2020 general election. Raffensperger mainly endorsed the new law and faced a key challenge from a representative backed by the former president.
Raffensperger stated that the Biden government is spreading lies about the election law of Georgia for the last some months. It is no surprise for the Republicans that Biden’s administration would operationalize their lies with the full strength using its federal government.
Governor Brain Kemp called the lawsuit of the Justice Department constitutionally and legally dead wrong. Further, he said that allegations of the prosecutors were groundless and disgusting. Finally, in a news conference, he said that the Democratic Justice Department initiated a politically motivated attack on the rule of law as well as democracy.
The Bill, SB 202
Many controversial aspects of the new voting law of Georgia state came on the scene before it approved; it is prominent in its possibility and for recently extensive powers granted to the state over local election offices. SB 202 bill also adds a voter Identification requirement for mail polls, shortens the duration for requesting a mailed ballot, and results in fewer ballot drop boxes available in metro Atlanta – necessities that drew challenge for the Biden government.
Clarke said that the lawsuit also aimed at another controversial move – a bar on the distribution of water and food by several organizations and groups to voters standing in line to cast a vote. Democratic leaders say the support required to encourage electorates who find themselves in long lines. On the other hand, the Republican Party argued that the measure necessary to prevent illegal campaigning from happening at polling stations.
Only two States Required ID during the 2020 General Elections
In the 2020 general elections, only two states required ID for voters requesting a mailed vote. However, just like Georgia, representatives in Florida also passed a law requiring extra identification for mail voting. Clarke further describes the Georgia law as adding needlessly and new stringent ID requirements to mail voting. Last year, drop boxes permitted in Georgia under an emergency rule because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
State Republican leaders defended the new law as making drop boxes a permanent option for voters and requiring all counties of the states to have at least one. However, critics say the new limits mean there will be fewer drop boxes available in the most populous states of the communities. For the whole metro Atlanta area, the Democratic party estimate the number of drop boxes will decrease from ninety-four last year to around twenty-three for future elections based on the new formula of one DropBox per one lac registered voters.