State officials respond to Department of Justice lawsuit

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Jun. 27—ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger have issued statements in response to the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit in opposition to Georgia's Election Integrity Act, S.B. 202.

"This lawsuit is born out of the lies and misinformation the Biden administration has pushed against Georgia's Election Integrity Act from the start," Kemp said. "Joe Biden, Stacey Abrams, and their allies tried to force an unconstitutional elections power grab through Congress — and failed. Now, they are weaponizing the U.S. Department of Justice to carry out their far-left agenda that undermines election integrity and empowers federal government overreach in our democracy.

"As Secretary of State, I fought the Obama Justice Department twice to protect the security of our elections — and won. I look forward to going three-for-three to ensure it's easy to vote and hard to cheat in Georgia."

The Justice Department sued the state over passage of the election reform law it claims violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act by intentionally discriminating against black voters.

The Republican-controlled General Assembly of Georgia passed the controversial legislation in March, voting along party lines, and Kemp signed it into law that same day.

"Recent changes in Georgia's election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color," Attorney General Merrick Garland said during a news conference.

Garland and Kristen Clarke, the assistant attorney general overseeing the department's Civil Rights Division, said the law was passed in the aftermath of a record voter turnout in last year's elections in Georgia, particularly among absentee voters.

"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 encounter long lines," Clarke said.

Senate Bill 202 replaces the signature-match verification process for absentee ballots with an ID requirement. It also restricts the location of ballot drop boxes and prohibits non-poll workers from handing out food and drinks within 150 feet of voters standing in line.

The law's critics have accused Republicans of passing the law in an effort to blunt the high voter turnout last November that saw President Biden become the first Democrat to carry Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992 and that propelled Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock to U.S. Senate runoff wins in January.

Raffensperger said he looks forward to challenging the feds in court.

"The Biden Administration continues to do the bidding of Stacey Abrams and spreads more lies about Georgia's election law," he said. "Their lies already cost Georgia $100 million and got the president awarded with four Pinocchios. It is no surprise that they would operationalize their lies with the full force of the federal government. I look forward to meeting them, and beating them, in court."

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