Civil rights and voting rights groups are fighting back to protect disenfranchised Georgia voters in a set of lawsuits filed after the signage of SB 202.
On Monday the NAACP of Georgia, in conjunction with the state’s League of Women Voters, Common Cause, the Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe and the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund Inc., filed the suit in federal district court in Atlanta. The suit alleges that SB 202 violates voters’ constitutional rights, as well as section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act by specifically targeting Black and communities of color.
The restrictive and expansive voting rights bill limits voter participation by requiring Georgians to submit a copy of their ID in order to receive an absentee ballot as well as reducing the number of secure drop sites.
“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,” the Reverend James Woodall, state president of Georgia NAACP, said in a statement.
The NAACP’s filing follows similar actions by voter rights groups which helped secure Biden’s path to the White House. The New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter Fund and Rise, Inc., filed a joint suit and will be represented by voting rights attorney Marc Elias.
“When Kemp allowed passage of the SB 202 bill last week, he made an intentional decision to suppress Black voting power. When Governor Kemp signed into law SB 202 bill last week, with a picture of a plantation on the wall behind him, he was championing the Jim Crow-era policies of the past,” reads a statement by Black Voters Matter founders LaTosha Brown and Cliff Albright.
On Tuesday Brown and Albright were among a group of voting rights advocates who staged a demonstration at the state capitol on Monday to speak out against the bill and corporate organizations who voiced their support. The groups also voiced they will continue to back Rep. Park Cannon who returned to work on Monday after she was violently detained last week during Governor Brian Kemp’s signage of the bill.
“This bill, which severely restricts voting access statewide, comes after Black voters delivered unprecedented turnout in last year’s election with record-breaking participation in absentee and early voting. Even after making public commitments to promote racial equity just last year, Georgia lawmakers, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and major players from Georgia’s business community have allowed the measure to pass by turning a blind eye toward blatant efforts to suppress Black votes. But the fight against this bill and the many others similar to it across our state and the nation is not over.”