On Friday (June 25), the US Department of Justice announced it is suing the state of Georgia over the controversial voting law. US Attorney General Merrick Garland said the lawsuit was “the first of many steps” the DOJ is taking to ensure all eligible Americans have lawful access to the ballot.
“We are scrutinizing new laws that seek to curb voter access and where we see violations, we will act. And in keeping with that promise, we are suing the state of Georgia” Garland said.
The AG accused state officials of enacting the voting restrictions legislation of denying Black voters their constitutional rights.
“Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s elections laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the rights of Black Georgians to vote on the account of their race or color, in violation of section two of the Voting Rights Act,” he said.
He cited the record voter turnout in the state during the November election, noting that the record-breaking turnout should be celebrated.
Garland announced the DOJ would be doubling the staff of its Civil Rights Division to take on other state laws that are similar to Georgia’s, as well as handle the upcoming redistricting cycle. He noted that without certain provisions at the federal level, states could continue to pass laws making voting harder, especially for Black voters, voters with low incomes, and other marginalized groups.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, who heads up the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ, also took the podium. Clarke described the filing in further detail, stating that her division “stands ready to protect the constitutional guaranteed voting rights of Americans in Georgia, and wherever else those rights may be threatened in this country.”