Georgia’s New Voter Suppression Law Is Hit With Its First Lawsuit

Plaintiffs take aim at “unconstitutional burdens on the right to vote.”

Alyssa Pointer/ZUMA

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Shortly after Georgia enacted a sweeping voter suppression bill that could make it easier for Republicans to overturn election results, three groups on Thursday announced a lawsuit intended to block the measure. Calling the legislation an effort to impose “unconstitutional burdens on the right to vote”—particularly for Black voters—the plaintiffs accused Georgia Republicans of acting in direct response to former President Donald Trump’s stunning campaign to undo Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state.

The voting law has attracted national attention, as well as fierce condemnation from Democrats. Georgia Republicans—much like Republicans in other states where brazen voting restrictions have been introduced—have characterized the law as an attempt to prevent illegal voting, despite longstanding evidence that voter fraud is a largely nonexistent problem.

“None of the bill’s burdensome and discriminatory changes to Georgia’s election code will increase the public’s confidence in the state’s election administration or ensure election integrity,” the lawsuit, announced by Marc Elias, the prominent election lawyer, argues. “Rather, the grab bag of voting restrictions that populate SB 202 make clear that the Bill was animated by an impermissible goal of restricting voting.”

The three groups—the New Georgia Project, which was founded by Stacey Abrams, the Black Voters Matter Fund, and Rise—objected to a wide range of provisions in the bill, including a ban on non-poll workers distributing water to voters waiting in line and restrictions on the use of absentee drop boxes. And as my colleague Ari Berman writes, the “major power grab” would give the state board of elections sweeping powers “to take over county election boards it views as underperforming, raising the possibility that elections officials appointed by and beholden to the heavily gerrymandered Republican legislature could take over election operations in Democratic strongholds like Atlanta’s Fulton County, where Trump and his allies spread conspiracy theories about ‘suitcases’ of ballots being counted by election officials in November after GOP poll monitors had left.”

Biden, in his first White House news conference on Thursday, slammed Republican voter suppression efforts as “sick.” 

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