Voting rights activist Stacey Abrams has now shared a public message of support for a lawsuit that the Justice Department has brought against Georgia authorities over the suppressive new election restrictions recently signed into law by the state’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp. Federal authorities argue in their new lawsuit that Georgia officials put the suppressive law in place “with knowledge of the disproportionate effect that numerous provisions, both singly and together, would have on Black voters’ ability to participate in the political process on an equal basis with white voters.”
As Abrams pointedly put it on Twitter:
‘In [The Justice Department], Americans have an ally on voting rights – regardless of race, party or zip code. Thank you to AG Merrick Garland, Deputy AG [Lisa Monaco] & [Associate AG Vanita Gupta] for defending Georgians against this assault on our freedom to vote.’
Correction: Deputy AG Lisa Monaco & Associate AG Vanita Gupta.
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) June 25, 2021
The lawsuit that federal authorities have unveiled is ambitious. Besides a request for judicial action against the newly enacted law itself, the Justice Department has also asked the court “to require future preclearance for changes to voting laws in Georgia,” as a new NBC report explains. Granting that request would essentially reimpose, at a more limited level, a provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down in 2013. Originally, the Voting Rights Act required preclearance by federal authorities prior to the implementation of certain changes to the conducting of elections; the idea was to stop suppressive election restrictions before their implementation. The Senate is set to consider legislation later this year known as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act that would reimpose that preclearance requirement.