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July 26, 2021

News West

West Coast News Network

Justice Department to sue Georgia over voting law

Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland announced Friday the Justice Department will file a lawsuit challenging a Georgia voting law that he argued discriminates against Black voters.

The Justice Department’s legal challenge targets Georgia’s controversial Election Integrity Act, which was passed by the Republican-controlled state Legislature and signed into law in March by GOP Gov. Brian Kemp. The law places new requirements on absentee and early voting, and bars groups from providing water or other refreshments to voters facing long waits. State Republicans have argued that the statute safeguards voting integrity, though federal and state officials have repeatedly assured the public they found no evidence of fraud in the 2020 election.

Civil rights and voting rights advocates have argued the law amounted to voter suppression and targeted voters of color. President Biden in March referred to it the Georgia law as “Jim Crow in the 21st century” and “an atrocity.”

Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland said Friday the Justice Department was filing the suit because the law makes it harder for Black people to vote. “Recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with a purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color,” Garland said.

In a policy speech on June 11, Garland pledged the Justice Department would fight newly enacted state voting restrictions and closely monitor controversial audits pushed by Republican state legislatures in response to former President Trump’s falsehood-filled campaign challenging the results of the 2020 election.

Garland said Friday that the lawsuit was the first of other actions the Justice Department would be taking to counter voting restrictions. “Where we believe the civil rights of Americans have been violated, we will not hesitate to act,” Garland said.