The Biden Justice Department said it is filing a lawsuit against Georgia over its new voting law, marking the first federal challenge to Republican-backed efforts in multiple states to tighten voting laws in ways critics say will discriminate against Black and minority voters.
The lawsuit was announced by Attorney General Merrick Garland Friday, alleging Georgia violated federal voting-rights law when it earlier this year when it passed the new voting rights bill changing the state’s requirements on voting in elections, which included how people could vote using mail-in ballots as well as where they could drop off those ballots.
“Where we believe the civil rights of Americans have been violated, we will not hesitate to act,” Attorney General Garland said Friday in announcing the lawsuit.
The Georgia state legislature passed the bill back in March and Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed it into law shortly thereafter. Kemp stated how the law was necessary in order to restore voter confidence in the integrity of Georgia elections following the recent tumultuous political season surrounding the presidential election.
The bill now requires absentee voters to provide certain documentation when requesting and submitting their mail-in ballots. These requirements are a valid driver’s license, the last four digits of the voter’s social security number, or a copy of some other accepted form of identification. The voter must also provide this information upon mailing in the actual voted on the ballot. Before the passing of this bill, voters simply filled out an absentee voter application and signed the ballot when they mailed it in. A process the GOP-led legislature and Governor Kemp determined would be ripe for improprieties, leading to a less than trustworthy election process.
“Many of that law’s provisions make it harder for people to vote,” Attorney General Garland said when announcing the lawsuit against Georgia, he continued: “The rights of all eligible citizens to vote are the central pillars of our democracy.”
It is difficult to say how exactly asking for these requirements, which are readily available to all “eligible citizens,” would make it harder to vote, but critics continue to back the idea that it makes it harder for people to vote particularly in minority communities.
Democrats have even gone so far as making the case that it is harder for black and other minorities to obtain driver’s licenses, social security cards, or other forms of acceptable identification, an argument that itself could be construed as racially insensitive. In fact, many on the right have actually argued that these claims are indeed racist because they insinuate that these voters don’t know where or how to obtain such required documentation.
Georgia also plans to move forward with what they call a “major list maintenance effort” by cutting out around 100,000 names from voter rolls. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger of Georgia said this is an attempt to ensure that voting records are accurate and cut down on the opportunity for fraud.
“Making sure Georgia’s voter rolls are up to date is key to ensuring the integrity of our elections,” Raffensperger said in a statement. “That is why I fought and beat Stacey Abrams in court in 2019 to remove nearly 300,000 obsolete voter files before the November election, and will do so again this year. Bottom line, there is no legitimate reason to keep ineligible voters on the rolls.”
Criticisms of the effort to uphold the integrity of Georgia’s elections have not just come from the democratic party but have also received condemnation from some of the “woke corporations” that have increasingly inserted themselves into the political arena, most notably Coca-Cola and the MLB.
The MLB even went so far as to move the All-Star game from Georgia to Colorado, a state which ironically enough has what some have described as stricter voting laws, such as fewer days allowed for early voting. An action that came with some unintended consequences as the MLB was then faced with lawsuits of their own and some politicians even challenging their antitrust status a measure introduced by Senator Ted Cruz.
The future of America’s elections and who gets to hold power over them is just another hot-button issue along with the myriad of other issues between the two sides that serves to further drive a wedge into our culture and politics. As the United States becomes more and more tribal so too do our politicians and along with them, the citizens of this country.