Justice Department Sues Georgia Over Voting Law
WASHINGTON – The Justice Department sued the state of Georgia on Friday over a controversial new law that imposes multiple restrictions on voting.
During a late morning press conference on Friday, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the complaint alleges “recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote … in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”
Passed and signed into law in March, Georgia’s Election Integrity Act reduces the time period voters have to request absentee ballots, limits drop box locations, imposes new identification requirements and gives greater control of election administration to the state legislature.
One eye-opening provision even bars passing out food and water to those waiting in line to vote.
The lawsuit marks the first significant action the Biden administration has taken in response to the wave of voting restrictions that Republican-led states have imposed since the November 2020 election.
Earlier this month, Garland vowed to make voting rights a top priority, and doubled the number of enforcement staff dedicated to policing it.
On Friday, in addition to announcing the lawsuit, Garland said the DOJ is poised to launch a task force to investigate and respond to threats against election officials.
And there’s likely more to come.
“The Civil Rights Division continues to analyze other state laws that have been passed, and we are following the progress of legislative proposals under consideration in additional states,” Garland said. “Where we believe the civil rights of Americans have been violated, we will not hesitate to act.”
The Georgia lawsuit is being overseen by Kristen Clarke, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela Karlan.