Georgia's new voting law hit with legal challenge

Several voter registration activist groups claim the new Georgia law is designed to disenfranchise black and minority voters.
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Georgia voter stickers
Georgia voter stickers
(Megan Varner/Getty Images)

Just hours after Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law a bill that would restrict certain methods of voting and shore up state lawmakers' authority over elections, state election officials were hit with a federal lawsuit by Georgia voter mobilization activist groups.

The 35-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta argues that provisions in the Republican-crafted law such as conditions on absentee ballots and ballot drop boxes will target minority voters and disenfranchise them, according to reporting by The Hill.

The lawsuit argues that the new law violates certain constitutional protections as well as the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

"These provisions lack any justification for their burdensome and discriminatory effects on voting," the complaint reads. "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."

The lawsuit filed by The New Georgia Project, Black Votes Matter Fund, and Rise INC. argue that the bill will not stop voter fraud, nor inspire confidence in the electoral process for Georgians.

In their complaint, the groups say that Georgia elections are already "safe" and "secure" and argue that this bill only serves to target minority voters.

"There is no attempt to pretend that the intention is not to restrict votes," former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams told The Guardian Wednesday about the law. "The language is different. They use the veil, they used the farce of voter fraud to justify their actions."

"These unjustified measures will individually and cumulatively operate to impose unconstitutional burdens on the right to vote, to deny or abridge the voting rights of Black Georgians, and to deny Black voters in Georgia an equal opportunity to participate in the electoral process," the lawsuit says.

The New Georgia Project, founded by Abrams in 2014, is a voting rights group dedicated to getting people of color between the ages of 18-29 years to vote, according to their site.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger last year launched an investigation into the New Georgia Project and other groups for seeking to "aggressively" register "ineligible, out-of-state, or deceased voters" before the state's Jan. 5 Senate runoff elections.

"It's nonsense, it ridiculous," New Georgia Project CEO said of the investigation, according to Atlanta's CBS46.com. "Sending out postcards reminding people to vote, reminding people that there is an election is not nefarious."

Raffensperger, a Republican who incurred the wrath of former President Donald Trump for his refusal to investigate alleged irregularities in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, is named as a defendant in the new lawsuit, along with four members of the Georgia State Election Board.