Legal challenges against Georgia’s new law governing voting procedures are ramping up in earnest.
Six multicultural civil rights groups filed a lawsuit against the state Sunday night to block enforcement of SB 202, an omnibus bill signed last week by Gov. Brain Kemp that some argue suppress voting rights in the state. The plaintiffs, which include the Georgia NAACP, The League of Women Voters of Georgia, Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Georgia Latino Community Development Fund, Common Cause, and the Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe, say the new law targets the voting rights of Georgia residents of color and violates the U.S. Constitution the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The 56-page lawsuit names as defendants Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and members of the Georgia State Elections Board. Board members include Rebecca Sullivan, David Worley, Matthew Mashburn, and Anh Le. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and co-counsel Hughes, Hubbard & Reed filed the federal lawsuit
“We don’t comment on pending litigation, but we have a pretty good batting average against lawsuits we’ve prevailed in,” Secretary of State spokesman Walter Jones told Atlanta Civic Circle Monday.
The lawsuit is the second to be filed in opposition to the new law in less than a week. Last Thursday, the New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter Fund, and Rise Inc. filed a similar suit in federal court in Atlanta.
On Friday, Raffensperger had harsh words for Democrats, Republicans, and activist and former Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ suggestion that efforts to improve Georgia’s voting system were nothing more than “Jim Crow 2.0.”
“Stacey Abrams is no doubt fund-raising off her absurd – and offensive – suggestion that this law is ‘Jim Crow 2.0’,” Raffensperger said in a prepared statement. “We don’t have systemic voter suppression, and we don’t have mass voter fraud. What we have is systemic lies for political gain that have led to a loss of public confidence in our elections.”
Meanwhile, on Monday, the head of the state’s League of Women Voters said the new law is “a direct attempt to eliminate the voting rights gains of 2020.”
“It’s undemocratic, unconstitutional, and un-American,” Susannah Scott, president of the League of Women Voters of Georgia, said in a written statement.
The new law eliminates a number of voting procedures, including early voting, absentee ballots, and ballot drop boxes. It also adds new and what critics say are unnecessary ID requirements for absentee ballots and hits groups like the League of Women Voters and its partners with fines for helping voters with their absentee ballots.
“This voter suppression bill in Georgia is an assault on democracy,” Virginia Kase, national LWV chief executive, said in a prepared statement. “The tremendous voter participation of the 2020 election was the culmination of decades of work by grassroots organizers and voting rights advocates. Our states should build on the success of 2020’s historic voter turnout, but instead, we are seeing a return to the era of Jim Crow laws. The people of Georgia deserve better. The American voters deserve better.”