The Justice Department is suing Georgia over the state’s new election integrity law, alleging Republican state lawmakers passed the sweeping legislation with the intent to deny black voters equal access to the ballot.
“Where we believe the civil rights of Americans have been violated, we will not hesitate to act,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said Friday in announcing the lawsuit.
Republican lawmakers in the state pushed back immediately, pledging a forceful defense of the law.
The Biden administration’s move comes two weeks after Garland said his department would scrutinize new laws in Republican-controlled states that strengthen voting rules. He said the federal government would take action if prosecutors found unlawful activity.
Justice Department officials hinted that prosecutors were looking at other election laws across the U.S. As of mid-May, 22 voting laws had passed in at least 14 states, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.
Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, said he would contest the suit. The Republican official largely supported the new law.
“The Biden Administration has been spreading lies about Georgia’s election law for months,” Raffensperger said in a statement.
“It is no surprise that they would operationalize their lies with the full force of the federal government. I look forward to meeting them, and beating them, in court.”
Republican Gov. Brian Kemp said in a statement that the suit was “born out of the lies and misinformation the Biden administration has pushed.”
He accused President Joe Biden and other Democrats of “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 voting bill, known as Senate Bill 202, adds a voter ID requirement for mail-in ballots, shortens the time period for requesting a mailed ballot and results in fewer ballot drop boxes.
“The changes to absentee voting were not made in a vacuum,” Assistant Attorney General Clarke said. “These changes come immediately after successful absentee voting in the 2020 election cycle, especially among black voters. SB 202 seeks to halt and reverse this progress.”
The lawsuit also takes aim at a ban on the distribution of food and water by various groups and organizations to voters standing in line to cast a ballot.
The law already is the subject of seven other federal suits.
The Justice Department also announced Friday that it was creating a task force and advising FBI and U.S. attorneys to prioritize investigations into threats against election officials.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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