The New Georgia Project, the Black Voters Matter Fund, and Rise Inc. have filed the first lawsuit alleging racism and violation of voter’s rights stemming from the passage of Senate Bill 202 Thursday. The complaint filed in federal court in Atlanta, alleges Black and minority voters will be hit especially hard by the new legislation, believing that the new law illegally suppresses voters’ rights in violation of constitutional protections and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

According to the lawsuit, the new restrictions are “clearly intended to and will have the effect of making it harder for lawful Georgia voters to participate in the State’s elections,” adding that the measure will impose “unjustifiable burdens” that disproportionately impact people of color, as well as young, poor and disabled voters.

“We will continue to fight and we will be here as activists to have our state representatives back at all times,” said Shenita Binns of Absolute Justice Now.

Sunday, the Georgia chapter of the NAACP, the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, the League of Women Voters of Georgia, the GALEO Latino Latino Community Development Fund, Common Cause, and the Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe filed a lawsuit alleging Senate Bill 202 is “culmination of a concerted effort to suppress the participation of Black voters and other voters of color.”

In addition, the lawsuit states majority-Black neighborhoods comprise only one-third of Georgia’s polling places, but account for two-thirds of the polling places that had to stay open late for the June primary to accommodate long lines. A recent study found that the average wait time in Georgia after polls were scheduled to close was six minutes in neighborhoods that were at least 90% white, and 51 minutes in places that were at least 90% nonwhite.

“Today, Black Voters Matter joined partners across the state and country to 1) stand in solidarity with Rep. Park Cannon who returns to work today, 2) continue holding corporations accountable for their failure to stand up for Black voters and 3) to remind voters that our lawsuit against GA officials is moving forward. We are prepared to undergo an economic boycott targeted at those companies to hit them where it hurts most — their bottom line,” according to the Black Voters Matter Fund lawsuit.

To that end, organizers delivered free food and water to polling places with long lines, and counties offered extended early voting hours, outdoor drop boxes, and mobile voting units to give voters additional opportunities to cast a ballot.

“The law is supposed to be equal for all and not just a few,” said Jada Longchamp of the Clayton County Democratic Party. “And if we’re going to have equal protection under the law, they need to hold themselves accountable for the statements they make. And the legislation that they have on the books already. We’re supposed to be all equal under the law. And we are not all equal under the law as they proved once again.”

Governor Brian P. Kemp has said Senate Bill 202 and other omnibus bills promising election reforms after a bruising 2020 Presidential Campaign that saw Georgia Republicans lose both U.S. Senate seats and the Presidential election. He’d decry the belief that Senate Bill 202 is the second coming of Jim Crow laws. Thursday, former President Donald Trump praised the bill

“Congratulations to Georgia and the Georgia State Legislature on changing their voter Rules and Regulations. They learned from the travesty of the 2020 Presidential Election, which can never be allowed to happen again. Too bad these changes could not have been done sooner!” the former president said in a statement.

“The thinly-veiled attempt to roll back the progress we have made to empower Georgians – to use their voices in the democratic process – creates an arbitrary law that does not improve voter confidence, secure election integrity nor increase access to the ballot box,” said the Rev. James Woodall, president of the state NAACP.

State Representative Park Cannon, center, walks with security detail at the Georgia State Capitol on Monday, March 29, 2021. Cannon was arrested Thursday, March 25th for knocking on the doors of Governor Brian Kemp's office. (Photo: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice)

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...

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