Georgia Voting Law ‘Intentional Discrimination,’ NAACP Suit Says
(Bloomberg) -- Georgia’s restrictive new voting law is “intentional discrimination” and must be struck down as unconstitutional, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said in a fresh lawsuit.
The law, which reins in absentee voting and makes it a crime to give water to voters waiting in lines, is a “thinly-veiled attempt to roll back the progress” in empowering minority voters in the state, the Georgia chapter of the civil rights group said in a statement on the lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Atlanta.
The suit is the latest to challenge the law, which was signed by Republican Governor Brian Kemp on March 25. The NAACP’s complaint was joined by groups including the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and the Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe. Earlier suits were filed by Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias and the Black Voters Matter Fund, among others.
Georgia Republicans say the new restrictions are necessary because of concerns about voter fraud that arose during the 2020 election, which former President Donald Trump claims was stolen from him through massive voter fraud. Dozens of federal judges and Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, have said there is no evidence of such fraud.
The NAACP suit alleges the new law is “the culmination” of an effort by Republican-led state lawmakers to suppress certain votes in response to demographic change that is making Democrats more competitive in Georgia, a longtime red state that narrowly flipped to Joe Biden in 2020 and went on to elect two Democratic senators in runoff elections.
“Unable to stem the tide of these demographic changes or change the voting patterns of voters of color, these officials have resorted to attempting to suppress the vote of Black voters and other voters of color in order to maintain the tenuous hold that the Republican Party has in Georgia,” the groups said in the suit.
Biden last week called the Georgia law “an atrocity” and “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.”
The changes have the support of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who previously rebuffed Trump’s entreaty to “find” enough votes to overturn the state’s presidential election results. Raffensperger’s press office didn’t immediately return a call for comment on the suit.
According to the NAACP suit, the law illegally limits access to mail-in-voting by instituting strict new photo-identification requirements and limiting access to drop boxes. The rules will have a disproportionate impact on Black voters who are less likely to have the necessary ID and more likely to have jobs with inflexible work hours that make drop boxes essential, the suit says.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.