DOJ announced Friday that it is suing Georgia over the state’s new election law, alleging Republican state lawmakers rushed through a sweeping overhaul with an intent to deny Black voters equal access to the ballot.
“Where we believe the rights of civil rights of Americans have been violated we will not hesitate to act,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said during a press conference announcing the lawsuit.
Georgia’s new voting law has received heavy criticism from Democrats and large corporations over the last few months due to the expansive powers granted to the state over local election offices. Among the most high-profile provisions of the controversial new election law is a change in how the state verifies the identity of voters who request and cast absentee ballots. The law eliminates signature matching and requires an ID to vote, if an individual has one.
This change has been criticized by many as likely to make it more difficult for Georgians, specifically minorities who are more likely to vote Democratic, to vote by mail. However, the law also provides Georgia voters who don’t have a photo ID with a plethora of different options to confirm their identity when requesting a ballot.
Georgia state Attorney General Chris Carr, who will be defending the state in court, fired back at the DOJ, telling Fox News the lawsuit is simply a “political campaign flier,” and will not be upheld in a court of law.
“The Justice Department is wrong: factually, legally and constitutionally. Georgia’s law clearly strengthens security, expands access and improves transparency in our elections. Merrick Garland said he was going to depoliticize the Justice Department yet files this blatantly political lawsuit,” said Carr.
“It is disappointing for those of us who respect the rule of law, because this is not a lawsuit, it is a political campaign flier. Falsely using race to scare people of color into believing their vote will not be counted is irresponsible and fundamentally wrong.”
The attorney general also blasted progressive Democrat Stacey Abrams, a vocal opponent of the bill, saying, “Unfortunately for the Justice Department, the Stacey Says Standard does not hold up in a court of law. We have defeated Stacey Abrams in every legal challenge she’s filed since 2018. We remain confident that Georgia’s law will be upheld. “
The Peach State’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp also weighed in, blaming the lawsuit on misinformation spread by the administration about the state’s election law and accusing President Biden of “weaponizing” DOJ to carry out a far-left agenda.
“This lawsuit is born out of the lies and misinformation the Biden administration has pushed against Georgia’s Election Integrity Act from the start,” said Gov. Kemp. “Joe Biden, Stacey Abrams, and their allies tried to force an unconstitutional elections power grab through Congress — and failed.”
“Now, they are weaponizing the U.S. Department of Justice to carry out their far-left agenda that undermines election integrity and empowers federal government overreach in our democracy. As Secretary of State, I fought the Obama Justice Department twice to protect the security of our elections — and won. I look forward to going three for three to ensure it’s easy to vote and hard to cheat in Georgia,” Kemp continued.
Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, also said he would fight the lawsuit.
The announcement by the DOJ comes only a few weeks after Garland said the department would review new voting laws in GOP-controlled states and promised action by the federal government if necessary.
Earlier this week, an effort by Democrats in Congress to overhaul election laws was blocked by Republicans in the Senate.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson applauded DOJ’s announcement Friday saying Georgia’s law was a “blatant assault on the American people’s most fundamental and sacred right, the right to vote.”
Fox News’ Tyler Olson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.