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Georgia Republicans hit with second lawsuit over voter suppression law

The Georgia chapter of the NAACP says the law is a ‘blatant attempt by the Georgia legislature and Governor Kemp to suppress the participation of Black voters and other voters of color.’

By Emily Singer - March 30, 2021
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Georgia voter suppression protester

A coalition including civil rights groups, voting rights organizations, and a Native American tribe is suing Georgia over the voter suppression law Republican Gov. Brian signed last week, saying the new restrictions on voting rights are a direct attempt to keep people of color from voting.

The lawsuit alleges that after Democrats won the state’s Electoral College votes during the presidential race and its two U.S. Senate seats, Georgia Republicans decided to suppress the vote from minority communities that lean heavily Democratic.

“Unable to stem the tide of these demographic changes or change the voting patterns of voters of color, these officials have resorted to attempting to suppress the vote of Black voters and other voters of color in order to maintain the tenuous hold that the Republican Party has in Georgia,” reads the lawsuit, which was filed by the NAACP Georgia State Conference, 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.

It’s the second lawsuit filed against the new law, which will newly require ID to vote by mail, limit the use of absentee ballot drop boxes, and allow the Republican-controlled state Legislature to in effect take over county election boards. Those election boards can decide how many polling places to open and can determine voter eligibility, among other things.

The lawsuit alleges that the changes implemented by Georgia will result in longer lines at the polls and points out that the law then makes it harder for people forced to wait in long lines because it made it a crime to hand out food and drinks within 25 feet of voters.

“Compounding the burden on Black and Brown voters who experience long lines and delays at the polls, SB 202 also criminalizes ‘line-warming,’ the act of well-meaning individuals and organizations who hand out water or snacks, umbrellas, or chairs to ease the burden on voters standing in line for protracted periods to vote,” the new lawsuit says.

Ultimately, both lawsuits allege that the law is aimed directly at suppressing the vote of Black people and other people of color, who helped propel President Joe Biden and Democratic Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to victory.

Black voters in the state overwhelmingly backed Biden over Donald Trump by a margin of 88% to 11%, according to exit poll data.

“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,” Janette Louard, the interim general counsel at the NAACP, said in a statement.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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