On June 25, the Department of Justice decided to file a lawsuit on the Georgia State Election Board and Brad Raffensperger, Secretary of State, over Georgia’s new Election Integrity Act of 2021, also known as Georgia Senate Bill 202. In this article, we will cover the what and the why of this controversial lawsuit.
What Does the Georgia Lawsuit State?
It’s 48 pages of legal gobblety-goop, but basically it accuses Georgia of violating the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Sec.(4f2) which prohibits racial discrimination. The act was created with the purpose of enforcing the 14th and 15 Amendments to the Constitution. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson, and its purpose was to enforce legal barriers on state and local levels that would hinder African-Americans rights to vote guaranteed under the 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. More recently, this Act has been amended to include all non-English speaking citizens as well1.
So, what does the DOJ, Coke, MLB and others not like about Georgia’s new voting law?
Georgia Senate Bill 202. What’s In It?
The State of Georgia has voted Republican in the last 6 consecutive elections, with the exception of the Election of 20202. If you look at the corresponding map, Present Trump lost Georgia by a mere 12,284 votes. As you can see, most of Georgia’s rural and suburban counties are red, whereas most of the metro areas are blue. After the fiasco of the 2020 election results that made headlines across the nation including the recount, the Fulton County scandal, and lost chain of custody, Georgia became a target for democrats looking to keep Georgia Blue well into 2022 and beyond.
Here is a comparison of the Bill in relation to other states of our Union.
Absentee Ballots: The deadline to request a ballot was changed to 78 days instead of 180 days before Election Day. There are 22 states that are less than 7 days, and 11 states are more than 7 days.
Verification: 30 states match ballot signatures with signatures on file. In Georgia, a valid voter ID is required to request an absentee ballot or vote in person. There are 4 other states who have this rule in place.
Drop Boxes: Georgia instituted drop boxes on an emergency basis during the pandemic in 2020. The new law will now limit drop boxes to designated areas where there will be a voting clerk on duty and can emptied nightly.
Hours of Voting: 7am to 7pm with two additional Saturday and two Sundays. Early voting is 17 days prior to Election Day.
Campaigning at polling places: No third-party can hand out literature, food, or drinks within 100 yards of the polling place. ALL states limit campaigning at polling sites! Nothing to see here. Food and drinks will be provided on self-serve basis.
State Elections Board: The Secretary of State will no long be a member or chairperson on the Board. Officials will be appointed by the General Assembly, which is currently a Republican majority.
So there you have it. Anything look weird to you? I have lived in Georgia for 37 years and have never, ever seen anything like the attack on our state such as this.
So, Why Now?
The 2022 Election, that’s why. Lot’s at stake here, folks. Georgia is considered one of the swing states, and the Democrats don’t want to lose the House or the Senate. Nancy could be stripped of her gavel and Schumer’s Senate could turn Red. We have two Senate seats up for grabs in the 2022 elections which could possibly knock the Senate out of its current 50/50 split. Ironically, we have 3 Black Conservatives running this year. Vernon Jones for Governor and King and Herschel for Senate. That will certainly send this up-coming Senate election into a tither!
Our sitting Governor, Brian Kemp, who was Georgia’s former Secretary of State, called the lawsuit “A politically motivated assault”. According to the Atlanta Constitution Journal, Legal scholar Jonathan Turley predicted that the DOJ’s lawsuit may backfire, seeing as voter identification requirements are “extremely popular with voters3.”
Speak Georgia co-founder Janelle King blasted the Department of Justice’s new lawsuit against Georgia’s Election Integrity Act as “extremely insulting” to Black voters3.
When Gov. Brian Kemp, signed the voting measure in March., some critics including President Biden, condemned it as “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.3”
There was so much chaos over the Georgia election of 2020 after Biden was declared the winner. There were calls of cheating, suitcases of ballots at 2 a.m. being counted after everyone went home, a lost chain of custody, not to mention the recount. It’s no wonder a new bill had to be passed. The State of Georgia’s integrity will be under a microscope in 2022.
And by the way, how can the DOJ sue Georgia over its voting bill when Congress can’t even get their own federal voting bill (HR1, S2) passed? Keep a sharp eye. Your state is next.
*Update, July 1, 2021: Supreme Court sides with GOP and upholds Arizona Voting Rules the Democrats called discriminatory by a 6-3 vote. There were two under review by the court similar the Georgia’s 202, unlawful discrimination and ballot collections4.
Coming soon: Do you Know Jim Crow?
1History Channel, Black History
2Wikipedia facts on Georgia
3Atlanta Constitution Journal