The United States Department of Justice is suing the State of Georgia over new voting restrictions that were signed into law last week by Governor Brian Kemp.

The lawsuit, announced by Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday, states Georgia has violated Section 2 of The Voting Rights Act earlier this year when it changed the state’s election rules.

“Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color, in violation of Section Two of the Voting Rights Act,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said Friday.

The changes include where citizens can drop off their ballots, requiring the last four digits of your Social Security number or some other form of identification to vote. It also, among other acts, allows the Republican-led state government to wrest control over the elections in Democratic counties, limit how many drop boxes each county can have for ballots, the number of hours and days the boxes can be open, where they can be located, and removes the Georgia Secretary of State as the head of the state elections board. This was done as the Georgia legislature listened to former President Donald Trump’s grievances claiming the current Secretary of State, Republican Brad Raffensperger, refused to relitigate the results of the 2020 Presidential Election.

In a statement, President Trump said Georgia residents should sue Raffensperger for running a ‘corrupt and rigged 2020 presidential election.’

“Biden’s Department of Justice just announced that they are suing the Great State of Georgia over its Election Integrity Act. Actually, it should be the other way around! The PEOPLE of Georgia should SUE the State, and their elected officials, for running a CORRUPT AND RIGGED 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION—and for trying to suppress the VOTE of the AMERICAN PEOPLE in Georgia. If we don’t address these issues from the 2020 Election head on, and we allow the Radical Left Democrats to continue to politicize the DOJ and Law Enforcement, we will lose our Country. SAVE AMERICA!”

Meanwhile, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp accused President Joe Biden of weaponizing the Justice Department. In a statement, Kemp said, “this lawsuit is born out of the lies and misinformation the Biden administration has pushed against Georgia’s Election Integrity Act from the start.”

“Joe Biden, Stacey Abrams, and their allies tried to force an unconstitutional elections power grab through Congress – and failed,” said Kemp in a written statement. “Now, they are weaponizing the U.S. Department of Justice to carry out their far-left agenda that undermines election integrity and empowers federal government overreach in our democracy.”

The Biden Administration’s reaction to Governor Kemp’s claims was swift.

“If you have such a fear of making it easier and more accessible for people to vote, then I would ask you what you’re so afraid of,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki exclaimed.

The Justice Department’s primary target within the law, however, is known as “Senate Bill 202,” which centers on absentee voting, designed to prevent election officials from disseminating unsolicited absentee ballots, and limiting the number of drop boxes for those particular ballots. According to the Justice Department, Black Americans are more likely to use these methods of voting more than White voters. Moreover, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act says states cannot impose any rule “which results in a denial or abridgment” of the right to vote on the basis of race.

“Like all of the provisions in SB 202, the changes to absentee voting were not made in a vacuum. These changes come immediately after successful absentee voting in the 2020 election cycle, especially among Black voters,” said Kristen Clarke, the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division.

Fair Fight Action Founder Stacey Abrams supported today’s decision.

“I commend Attorney General Merrick Garland, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, Associate AG Vanita Gupta and Assistant AG Kristen Clarke for taking bold action to combat restrictions on Georgians’ freedom to vote,” said Abrams. “Senate Bill 202 in Georgia and similar anti-voter bills being passed around the country undermine our democracy and restrict access in ways that target voters of color. This lawsuit takes aim at the discriminatory provisions outlined in SB 202, specifically, banning distribution of water and snacks, restricting access to drop boxes, shortening periods for voting by mail, throwing out eligible votes and creating unacceptably long lines.”

The Justice Department plans to take on a number of state governments with similar voting restriction laws and promises to double the number of staff dedicated to the enforcement of federal voting rights law.

“Georgia Senate Bill 202, and dozens like it across the country, represent a coordinated assault on voting rights and protections—disproportionately affecting communities of color and other minority groups,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “Thank you to the Department of Justice and the leadership of US Attorney General Merrick Garland for fighting for the fundamental right of equal access to the political process for all Georgians.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a news conference on voting rights at the Department of Justice in Washington, Friday, June 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

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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