Voting rights advocates have filed a third lawsuit against recently enacted voting restrictions in Georgia that are poised to disproportionately impact marginalized communities like Black Americans. The legislation in question, which Republican Governor Brian Kemp recently signed into law, includes provisions like new voter ID requirements for absentee voting and new restrictions on the usage of absentee ballot drop boxes, which under the legislation are now restricted to business hours. The bill also bans mobile polling places, which were used during the 2020 cycle in locales including Fulton County, a highly populated Atlanta-area jurisdiction with a high Black population.
The new lawsuit is from plaintiffs including an arm of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and as that church’s Bishop Reginald Jackson put it in remarks to church members:
‘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.’
The lawsuit itself adds as follows, discussing the new restrictions around the electoral process:
‘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. This burden is not an accident. Nor is it legal.’
Republicans have claimed that the legislation is designed to address fraud concerns, but no evidence of systematic fraud ever emerged in connection to the 2020 elections, so they’re responding a problem that, at least according to the description of prominent Republicans, does not actually exist. Shifts that did take place included Joe Biden’s historic victory in Georgia last November and the similarly historic victories of Georgia’s two Democratic U.S. Senators this past January, both of whom replaced Republican incumbents. Georgia’s new Senators include the state’s first ever Black U.S. Senator — and now, Georgia Republicans have come up with this oppressive legislation.
Georgia officials like Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger have said that the new restrictions will help boost confidence surrounding the electoral process in the state, but there’s a lack of confidence because of lies from Republican leaders like ex-President Donald Trump himself. Trump repeatedly singled out Georgia for criticism, alleging the existence of a wide-ranging fraud scheme that supposedly cost him the state. Trump is actually now the subject of a criminal investigation from Atlanta-area District Attorney Fani Willis, who is looking into the ex-president’s efforts to subvert the state’s presidential election outcome.
Meanwhile, two previous lawsuits against the new Georgia voting restrictions include a case brought by the NAACP of Georgia and others alongside another case brought by a voting rights coalition including The New Georgia Project, the latter of which includes prominent voting rights lawyer Marc Elias on the plaintiffs’ team.