GARLAND: “Today, the Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia."
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Friday that the U.S. Justice Department will file a lawsuit challenging a Georgia election law that imposes new limits on voting, saying that it infringes on the rights of Black voters.
GARLAND: “This lawsuit is the first of many steps we are taking to ensure that all eligible voters can cast a vote, that all lawful votes are counted, and that every voter has access to accurate information.”
The Georgia law, signed by Governor Brian Kemp on March 25, tightened absentee ballot identification requirements, restricted ballot drop-box use and allowed a Republican-controlled state agency to take over local voting operations.
The DOJ said certain measure of the law were passed with discriminatory intent - like banning the distribution of water or food to people waiting on long lines at polling places.
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Kristen Clarke said the law was a direct response to the record turnout that gave Democrats two Senate seats and President Biden a win in the state.
"The provisions we are challenging reduce access to absentee voting at each step of the process, pushing more black voters to in-person voting where they will be more likely than white voters to confront long lines. SB 202 then imposes additional obstacles to casting an in-person ballot. Like all of the provisions in SB 202, the changes to absentee voting were not made in a vacuum. These changes come immediately after successful absentee voting in the 2020 election cycle, especially among black voters."
The wave of new measures in Georgia were fueled by former President Donald Trump's false claims that his November election defeat was the result of widespread fraud.
President Joe Biden, who became the first Democratic presidential candidate in three decades to win Georgia, has staunchly criticized Georgia's new law, calling it an "atrocity."
After a sweeping Democratic-sponsored bill aimed at protecting access to the ballot died on a party-line vote in the Senate this week, President Joe Biden vowed to take other steps to protect voting rights.
The Republican governors of Arizona, Florida and Iowa have also signed new voting restrictions this year, while state legislatures in Pennsylvania and Texas are trying to advance similar measures.
Clarke says her division is poised to expand the fight for voting rights beyond Georgia...
“The Civil Rights Division stands ready to protect the constitutionally guaranteed voting rights of Americans in Georgia and wherever else those rights may be threatened in our country.”