Civil rights and voting rights groups have filed multiple lawsuits seeking to strike down sections of the sweeping Georgia voting reform bill signed into law last week, CNN reports.
Georgia’s law strips the secretary of state of some authority and allows state officials to take over local election offices. The law requires voter ID for absentee ballots, legalizes but restricts ballot drop boxes, bans the use of mobile voting buses in heavily Black Fulton county, shortens the absentee voting and runoff periods, and make it a crime to give water or food to voters in long lines, among other measures.
Democrats like President Joe Biden decried the law as voter suppression and compared it to Jim Crow.
Republicans argue that the bill is aimed at addressing voter concerns about election integrity while codifying voting expansions that were implemented via executive order amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I can truthfully look in the camera and ask my African-American friends and other African-Americans in Georgia to simply find out what’s in the bill versus just this blank statement of this is Jim Crow or this is voter suppression, or this is racist, because it is not,” Gov. Brian Kemp told Fox News.
“There is nothing Jim Crow about requiring a photo or state-issued ID to vote by absentee ballot – every Georgia voter must already do so when voting in-person,” Kemp said in a statement. “President Biden, the left, and the national media are determined to destroy the sanctity and security of the ballot box… It is obvious that neither President Biden nor his handlers have actually read.”
NAACP alleges voter suppression:
The Georgia NAACP along with the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, the League of Women Voters of Georgia, GALEO Latino Community Development Fund, Common Cause, and the Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe filed a lawsuit against the state on Sunday alleging voter suppression.
The lawsuit argues that the law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which bars voting discrimination, and the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
“SB 202 is a blatant attempt by the Georgia legislature and Governor Kemp to suppress the participation of Black voters and other voters of color,” Georgia NAACP attorney Janette Louard said in a statement . “The Georgia law is part of a broader attempt to disenfranchise Black voters in states across the country. Voting is a fundamental right and efforts should be made to make it easier and to encourage more people to do their civic duty. Instead, we are seeing efforts to restrict voting for Black voters and other people of color. We will not let these blatantly discriminatory actions take place. They must be declared unconstitutional.”
Voting groups allege discrimination:
Another lawsuit filed by the New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter and Rise Inc. On Thursday likewise argues that the bill is aimed at suppressing the vote of Black residents.
"In large part because of the racial disparities in areas outside of voting -- such as socioeconomic status, housing, and employment opportunities -- the Voter Suppression Bill disproportionately impacts Black voters, and interacts with these vestiges of discrimination in Georgia to deny Black voters (an) equal opportunity to participate in the political process and/or elect a candidate of their choice," the suit says.