Georgia NAACP Files Lawsuit Challenging Georgia’s New Voter Suppression Law

voter suppression bill signed into law by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp.
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The Georgia NAACP, along with Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda, League of Women Voters of Georgia, GALEO, Common Cause, and the Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe, have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against the recently passed voter suppression bill signed into law by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp.

The lawsuit names the Georgia Secretary of State and members of the State Elections Board as defendants and challenge the implementation of the signing of Senate Bill 202 into law for its violation of the First, Fourth, and Fifteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, in its targeting of Black and other minority voters.

“We promised to use every legal option available to us to fight back against SB 202 and our lawsuit does just that. The thinly-veiled attempt to roll back the progress we have made to empower Georgians - to use their voices in the democratic process - creates an arbitrary law that does not improve voter confidence, secure election integrity nor increase access to the ballot box,” says Rev. Woodall, State President of Georgia NAACP.

The lawsuit alleges that the new law “constitutes intentional discrimination” in violation of the Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Georgia Senate Bill 202 passed both chambers of the General Assembly and was signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp on March 25, 2021.

In some of the most troubling parts of the new law, access to voting by mail is limited by photo ID requirements and limits access to ballot drop boxes - which have been used by voters statewide. Its “onerous and unnecessary ID requirements” for absentee voters will harm Black and Latino voters disproportionately, as they are less likely to possess the required IDs.

Black voters are also more likely to hold jobs that do not give them the flexibility to take off from work during the time that early voting and drop boxes are available under the new restrictions.

The law also grants power to the State Elections Board to take over county elections boards and target jurisdictions with large populations of minority voters; encourages the submission of an unlimited numbers of voter challenges; prevents out-of-precinct voting before 5pm; and gives county registrars discretion to limit early voting hours to 9 am to 5 pm and to entirely eliminate Sunday early voting. Weekend early voting may also not be offered ahead of runoff elections.

Finally, the lawsuit directly targets organizations like the Georgia NAACP and the other plaintiffs which encourage voting by prohibiting them from sending out unsolicited absentee ballot applications to voters; threatening them with fines for sending out applications to those who are not registered or who have already requested a ballot; and criminalizing “line-warming,” which provides relief in the form of food or water for voters forced to wait in long lines.

“We will continue to stand for what’s right on behalf of ALL Georgians. The Georgia NAACP will continue to fight until every voter is able to freely and confidently participate in democracy,” Rev. Woodall concludes.

About The Georgia NAACP

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has had an unbroken presence in Georgia since 1917. The Georgia NAACP maintains a network of units throughout Georgia, from cities to small rural counties. The Georgia NAACP has been the most effective and consistent advocate for African American civil rights in Georgia. You can read more about the Georgia NAACP’s work and mission at naacpga.org.

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