This is the second federal lawsuit to challenge the election law that brings a raft of new voting restrictions to Georgia.
The law specifically imposes 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.
Republicans cast the measure, dubbed The Election Integrity Act of 2021, as necessary to boost confidence in elections after the 2020 election saw former President Donald Trump make repeated, unsubstantiated claims of fraud.
“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,” the lawsuit states. “In other words, these officials are using racial discrimination as a means of achieving a partisan end. These efforts constitute intentional discrimination in violation of the Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”
The lawsuit was filed late Sunday in the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and members of the State Election Board.
The Democrats’ go-to election attorney, Marc Elias, had filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of the New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter and Rise Inc. on similar grounds.
“In large part because of the racial disparities in areas outside of voting — such as socioeconomic status, housing, and employment opportunities — the Voter Suppression Bill disproportionately impacts Black voters, and interacts with these vestiges of discrimination in Georgia to deny Black voters (an) equal opportunity to participate in the political process and/or elect a candidate of their choice,” that lawsuit states.
Still, the Georgia law is part of a larger effort by GOP legislators across the country — including in the battleground states of Michigan and Arizona — to roll back voting access in the wake of the 2020 election.
This story has been updated with additional information Monday.