Wednesday afternoon, the State of Georgia asked a federal judge to throw out the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit which alleged Senate Bill 202 is unlawful. Republican Attorney General Chris Carr argued the DOJ is, “noticeably silent about similar laws existing in Delaware, New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, and Wisconsin,” referring to their laws as “racist.”

“This is not a legitimate lawsuit from the Department of Justice, it’s a campaign flier,” Attorney General Chris Carr said. “Biden’s Department of Justice is waging a shameless political attack on Georgia’s constitutional authority to regulate its elections. Georgia’s election system is equally accessible to all voters, and we will continue to vigorously defend the commonsense provisions of Georgia’s Election Integrity Act against these baseless, partisan attacks.”

Georgia’s current election law reduces the early voting period, reduces number of absentee ballot dropboxes, requires the last four digits of your Social Security number or voter ID, and bans the dispersal of water, drinks and snacks to voters in line. It also removes the Georgia Secretary of State as the head of the State Elections Board and gives the majority party in the legislature the power to overhaul county election boards if they suspect any illegal or nefarious activity. These measures were taken up as the Georgia legislature responded to the grievances from former President Donald Trump’s that claimed the current Secretary of State, Republican Brad Raffensperger, refused to re-litigate the results of the 2020 Presidential Election.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp voiced his support for the dismissal of the DOJ’s lawsuit.

“The Department of Justice attorneys would make great Hollywood screenplay writers,” Governor Brian Kemp said in a formal statement. “Their ‘lawsuit’ is loaded with partisan talking points and outright falsehoods because it is political propaganda aimed at justifying their unconstitutional federal takeover of elections across the country. SB 202 provisions like requiring voter ID on absentee ballots, securing drop boxes around the clock, and expanding weekend voting opportunities are commonsense reforms that ensure Georgia elections are secure, accessible, and fair. Instead of weaponizing the Department of Justice against election integrity measures, this administration should focus on reigning in inflation, reducing violent crime, and securing our southern border.”

According to Georgia’s formal complaint, SB 202 implements lessons learned by state and local elections officials through the challenge of administering an election during a global pandemic.

“During the 2020 election cycle, the Georgia Secretary of State and State Election Board undertook temporary, emergency measures to protect the health and safety of voters amidst unprecedented circumstances,” reads the suit on page ten. “SB 202 makes permanent some of the emergency measures that proved successful, while shoring up the security of the State’s numerous and accessible methods of voting. At each turn, Georgia’s General Assembly sought to increase voter access and voter confidence—making it “easy to vote and hard to cheat.”

To that end, Georgia lawmakers have asked for a formal review of the Fulton County Election Board, including the firing of Richard Barron. House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, a Republican representing Milton, Roswell and Alpharetta, said she wants a review due to “repeated and systemic elections process failures.”

“We need a full and public audit of the entire county election process, including the chain of custody of paper ballots produced by the machines and absentee ballots,” Jones said. “This is critical for the public to trust the results in Fulton, which represents 10 percent of the state’s population.”

State Rep. Chuck Martin claimed Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts admitted human error impacted the vote and “seemed willing to accept it without review.”

Pitts responded Wednesday saying Raffensperger wants a takeover of Fulton County’s elections in order to regain favor with aggrieved Georgia Republicans and former President Trump.

“I can’t let them get away with it in broad daylight,” Pitts said. “Even though it’s Fulton County today, it could be any other county tomorrow.”

While Georgia Republicans echo former President Trump’s grievances, Democrats have said the new laws could cause them to lose their momentum heading into the governor’s race in 2022. They’re quickly pouring over the ninety-eight page law to craft a strategy to combat the new rules.

“If there isn’t a way for us to repeat what happened in November 2020, we’re f—ed,” said Nsé Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project. “We are doing what we do to make sure that not only our constituents, our base, the people, the communities that we organize with, get it. We’re trying to make sure that our elected officials get it as well.”

 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signs S.B. 202 on Thursday, March 25, 2021 inside the Georgia State Capitol. (Photo: Governor Brian Kemp)

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...