The Biden Justice Department announced a lawsuit Friday against the state of Georgia in response to the anti-fraud election overhaul enacted there earlier this year, arguing that Republican legislators actually instituted the changes with the intent of denying Black voters fair access to the process, as the Associated Press reports.
In explaining the decision to move forward with legal action, Attorney General Merrick Garland declared, according to Politico, “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 face or color, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”
Kristen Clark, assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division added, “The provisions we are challenging reduce access to absentee voting at each step of the process, pushing more Black voters to in-person voting where they will be more likely than white voters to confront long lines.”
The DOJ’s lawsuit will take particular aim at provisions in the Georgia law that prohibit governmental entities from distributing unsolicited absentee ballots, impose fines on groups that distribute follow-up absentee ballots, shorten the deadline for submitting absentee ballots, among others, as Fox News noted.
It was not long, however, before Georgia officials publicly took issue with the administration’s characterization of the law and lamented Garland’s politicization of the Justice Department, as evidenced by Friday’s announcement.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger vowed to contest the lawsuit and declared, “The Biden administration has been spreading lies about Georgia’s election law for months,” adding, “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.”
Defending the law which, among other things, requires the presentation of identification in order to obtain and submit an absentee ballot and adds heightened security measures for ballot drop boxes, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr called the DOJ’s lawsuit a “campaign flier,” adding, as Fox News reported separately:
They are not upholding the rule of law and this blatantly political lawsuit is legally, factually and constitutionally wrong. Anybody who looks at our law can see it improves security and access, improves transparency in Georgia’s law.
Carr further lamented the fact that upon taking office, Garland pledged to de-politicize the Justice Department, but is in fact doing the opposite, saying, “I think the American people should be very concerned that this Justice Department, and I will quote what Governor Brian Kemp said, the weaponization of the Department of Justice should bother everybody. It has now been weaponized by a group of political activists who don’t like what our state has done.”
Kemp, for his part, predicted success for the state in fighting back against the Justice Department, saying on Friday afternoon, “Let me be clear: the DOJ lawsuit announced today is legally and constitutionally dead wrong. Their faults and baseless accusations are quite honestly disgusting.”