The U.S. Department of Justice announced it is taking definitive action and is suing the state of Georgia over the controversial voting restrictions laws enacted as part of Republican efforts nationwide to limit voting access in the wake of President Donald Trump’s election defeat.
“Where we see violations of federal law, we will act,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a news conference.
Georgia’s recently passed and highly controversial voter suppression bill, SB 202, which prevents full and free access to the ballot for voters throughout the state, is a blatant measure to suppress Balck and Democratic participation in a fair and open election process.
The state law imposes new voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, empowers state officials to take over local elections boards, limits the use of ballot drop boxes and makes it a crime to approach voters in line to give them food and water.
Garland called the Justice Department’s new lawsuit “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.
At the press conference, Assistant Attorney General Kristen said the law requires “new and unnecessary requirements” to request an absentee ballot.
Clarke also said the lawsuit would target a part of the law that makes it a misdemeanor to hand out “any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink” to anyone standing in line to vote. The prohibition extends 150 feet from a polling place and 25 feet from any person standing in line.
After the lawsuit’s announcement, both Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp responded, each saying the lawsuit was based on lies.
“The Biden Administration continues to do the bidding of Stacey Abrams and spreads more lies about Georgia’s election law. Their lies already cost Georgia $100 million and got the President awarded with four Pinocchios,” Raffensperger said. “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.”
In his statement, Kemp also referenced Stacey Abrams, saying that this lawsuit came after she, Biden and others “tried to force an unconstitutional elections power grab.”
“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.”