Voting rights groups have filed two lawsuits against the restrictive voting rights legislation signed into law by Georgia governor Brian Kemp last week.
The sweeping voter suppression bill SB 202 limits the use of drop boxes, limits voting days and times, ends no-excuse absentee voting and will enact stricter voter identification laws for absentee ballots. Only residents who are disabled, over 65, are in the military, have a religious holiday that falls on Election Day, or will be out of town during an election will be allowed to vote by mail. Those voting by mail will be required to submit a copy of a photo ID, and have their ballot signed by a witness in order for their vote to be counted. It also bans non-poll workers from distributing water and food to voters waiting in line. Many are calling the legislation “Jim Crow 2.0”
The groups filing suit against the bill, which include the New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter, and Rise Incorporated, allege that the law is unconstitutional and violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
According to the 35-page complaint the new law “clearly intended to and will have the effect of making it harder for lawful Georgia voters to participate in the State’s elections,” and that it will create “unjustifiable burdens” that will overwhelmingly impact communities of color, as well as young, poor, and disabled voters.
“None of the bill’s burdensome and discriminatory changes to Georgia’s election code will increase the public’s confidence in the state’s election administration or ensure election integrity,” said Marc Elias, the prominent election lawyer representing the plaintiffs. “Rather, the grab bag of voting restrictions that populate SB 202 make clear that the Bill was animated by an impermissible goal of restricting voting.”
The new law is part of a larger voter suppression strategy at the state level in response to Democrat victories in the 2020 elections and Donald Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud. As of February, at least 253 bills that restrict voting access have been carried over, introduced, or filed in 43 states.