March 30, 2021

Georgia Voting Restrictions Challenged Again in Third Federal Lawsuit

By Mark Niesse | Atlanta Journal-Constitution | March 30, 2021

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Another federal lawsuit is challenging Georgia’s new voting law, the third court effort to stop election rules that plaintiffs say will make it harder for all voters to cast their ballots, especially African Americans.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday by the African Methodist Episcopal Church and other plaintiffs, is aimed at many parts of the voting law, including absentee ID requirements, drop box restrictions, absentee ballot request deadlines and a ban on volunteers handing out food and water to voters waiting in line.

“Simply put, this new law not only seeks to suppress the votes of Black and brown people, but it is also racist and seeks to return us to the days of Jim Crow,” Bishop Reginald Jackson of the AME Church’s Sixth District, which includes Georgia, wrote in a letter to parishioners.

Republican defendants in the suit, including Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, have said the voting law will increase confidence in Georgia’s voting system after then-President Donald Trump falsely claimed he had won the election. Election officials say there’s no evidence of widespread fraud, and recounts verified the results.

“For some Georgians, this inconvenience may be manageable. But for voters of color and other historically disenfranchised communities — who already suffer through disproportionately longer lines than white voters — it could be dramatic,” the 91-page lawsuit states. “This burden is not an accident. Nor is it legal.”

Two other lawsuits also seek court intervention to block Senate Bill 202 since Kemp signed it into law on Thursday.

A suit by a coalition of advocacy groups, including the NAACP of Georgia, said the law is an effort to suppress Black voters in response to Democratic victories for president and the U.S. Senate.

And another court case, brought by the New Georgia Project and other voting rights groups, alleges the law burdens voters based on unsubstantiated claims questioning the legitimacy of Georgia’s elections.