On Thursday, Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed a sweeping elections reform bill into law that contains a slew of policy changes that have the net effect of threatening the ability of Black voters and other marginalized communities to freely participate in the electoral process. The legislation even “empowers state officials to take over local elections boards” under certain circumstances, CNN explains, which — as advocates have warned — could lead to certain state officials intervening to stop the certification of election results in particular counties. In the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, ex-President Donald Trump and his allies repeatedly singled out particular counties for deranged scrutiny.
Kemp claimed that “alarming issues” connected to the 2020 election cycle demonstrated the supposed need for the elections reform measures that he signed into law — but he’s misrepresenting the facts. There were no “alarming issues” of the sort that Republican allies of Trump claimed. No substantive evidence has ever emerged that the presidential election results were swung by fraud at any level anywhere in the country.
Now, voting rights lawyer Marc Elias and his team have sued Georgia authorities over the voter suppression legislation on behalf of the New Georgia Project, the Black Voters Matter Fund, and Rise, a student organization. As summarized by Elias’s team, their case “claims that the bill’s voting restrictions—including new identification requirements for absentee voting, limits on the use of absentee drop boxes, banning mobile polling places, invalidating ballots cast before 5:00 PM in the wrong precinct, banning any non-poll worker from giving food or drink, including water, to voters waiting in line, and more—violate the Fourteenth Amendment and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”
🚨BREAKING: On behalf of @NewGAProject, @BlackVotersMtr and @RiseFreeOrg, we have sued Georgia for enacting a new voter suppression law that violates the US Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. https://t.co/9r2DVxZEVR
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) March 26, 2021
Georgia isn’t the only state where Republicans have prepared harsh elections reform legislation in response to supposed problems that don’t exist. Critically, Georgia was the site of recent Democratic victories — Joe Biden won the state in November, and in January, two Democratic Senate candidates won, leaving Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate. Now, Republican state officials there and elsewhere are rushing to change election rules to the detriment of people making their voices heard.