You’d think by now the Republicans in Georgia had learned not to square off against rising Democratic star Stacey Abrams. After all, she is credited with driving Blacks to the polls in records numbers in both the November presidential election and the senatorial election in January that put Biden over the top and gave Democrats control of the Senate. But no, they had to challenge her and her well put together coalition.
Three voting rights groups – including the one founded by Abrams – have sued the state of Georgia, claiming sweeping new voting restrictions signed into law Thursday — including limiting ballot drop boxes and shortening voting hours — violate the Voting Rights Act, as Republicans in the state face backlash for passing a bill many considered a voter suppression effort, according to Forbes.
The New Georgia Project — which was founded by activist and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams — along with the Black Voters Matter Fund and Rise Inc. filed a lawsuit against state election officials last Thursday evening in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.
The suit seeks injunctive action to block new election restrictions outlined in Senate Bill 202 — the “Voter Suppression Bill,” as plaintiffs label It — which was signed into law by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp Thursday after quickly passing the state House and Senate in votes along party lines.
The bill outlines numerous new constraints when it comes to voting in the state, such as limiting the amount of ballot drop boxes, shortening the early voting period and prohibiting non-poll workers from giving food or water to voters waiting in line.
The lawsuit alleges the bill violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by making it harder for Black Georgians to access ballots, while also claiming it violates the first and fourteenth amendments of the U.S. Constitution by creating an undue burden on the right to vote.
The signing of the Georgia bill comes as Democrats in Congress continue to move forward with the For the People Act, which would create national voting standards that could largely undue the provisions in the Georgia bill. Republicans have said they will fight tooth and nail to defeat the legislation, leading to a debate among Democrats over getting rid of the Senate filibuster, which would allow for a simple majority vote to pass legislation.
“These provisions lack any justification for their burdensome and discriminatory effects on voting,” the lawsuit says. “Instead, they represent a hodgepodge of unnecessary restrictions that target almost every aspect of the voting process but serve no legitimate purpose or compelling state interest other than to make absentee, early and election-day voting more difficult — especially for minority voters.”