Civil rights groups challenge Georgia election law in court

Civil rights groups have sued Georgia, challenging a new election law that requires an ID to vote by absentee ballot.

The federal lawsuit asserts that the law violates the Voting Rights Act and runs afoul of constitutional rights.

In addition to requiring an ID, the law reduces the time to request absentee ballots and sets new rules for ballot drop boxes. It also bans people from passing out food and water to people waiting in line to vote.

“These provisions lack any justification for their burdensome and discriminatory effects on voting,” the 35-page lawsuit reads.

New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter Fund, and Rise, Inc. brought the suit, which was filed shortly after Gov. Brian Kemp signed the law on Thursday. The groups are represented by Democracy Docket, a progressive advocacy group led by election lawyer Marc Elias.

“People keep asking me WHY Georgia criminalized giving food and water to voters stuck in long lines,” Mr. Elias said on Twitter. “Answer: Because it disproportionately harms black voters.”

President Biden, too, attacked the Republican governor’s new law, calling it an “atrocity.”

Mr. Biden told reporters that Georgia’s law “has nothing to do with fairness” and “nothing to do with decency.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger defended the new rules, saying Democrats are using partisan talking points to attack election requirements.

“The cries of ‘voter suppression from those on the left ring as hollow as the continuously debunked claims of ‘mass voter fraud’ in Georgia’s 2020 election,” Mr. Raffensperger, a Republican, said. “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.”

The rewrite of Georgia election laws passed in party-line votes, and outraged Democrats and liberal voting right activists who say Republicans are trying to suppress the Black vote.

They also raised alarms about new election laws passed in other states by GOP legislatures.

Iowa recently enacted a law that limits early voting and requires polling sites to close an hour earlier. Mr. Elias has challenged that law in court too.

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